…being shy

I listened to a TED talk by a psychologist who claimed that more than 50% of the people in the United States consider themselves shy… A quick Google search seems to find that there are many articles that confirm this fact… So if you put 50% of the people in the United States who consider themselves shy in an emotionally stressful situation… like looking for a job… It’s no wonder that people have such a difficult time finding a job…

I have to admit that for the past few years, after writing four books on how to find a job as well as an online program that is almost foolproof at helping somebody find a job, I’ve been wondering why so many people still have a difficulty in finding one…why so many people are out of work for so long and, after a year, almost become unemployable. It just didn’t make sense, or at least I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out. Being an extrovert and being surrounded by extroverts who are in some cases downright aggressive, I just simply didn’t think about it. What’s worse  is that even after more than 40 years of dealing with people, I should have known that many people, lots of people…shy people…  have a real hard time getting interviews and selling themselves hard enough to easily get a job.

It isn’t so much that it’s insensitivity…although it is…as it is just not paying attention… After all these years and having interviewed more than 26,000 candidates face-to-face, I should know that some people are so shy their shyness overwhelms their ability to sell themselves and get a job… And, like most people, the longer they go without a job, the harder it is..

So here is what shy people have to do…they simply have to push themselves to get interviews, by cold calling and running the risk of being rejected…they then have to practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice and practice interviewing and asking for a job so that when they get into an interview and they are phenomenally, terribly nervous, they do what they need to do. Keep in mind they don’t have to give a stellar performance of A+ interviewing. All they have to do is be able to sell themselves well enough to get a job. I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about the practice it takes, but it does.

If you are shy, you have to practice to the point where interviewing well becomes what psychologists call “unconscious competency.” (… Look it up) it is practicing so well that no matter how nervous or even distracted a person is, they interview well. I realize that this is not easy… but it is necessary…

And, think about it, 50% of the people that you’re interviewing with are also shy and they will have a tremendous amount of empathy for you…

… perseveration

In psychology and psychiatry, perseveration is the repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder…

Perseveration takes place in the job search when a candidate plays over and over and over in their head what they should have or could have done differently in an interviewing or job search situation. It is a maddening exercise for candidates especially when they have screwed up an interview… They play it over and over and over and over in their heads… Like a hamster on a wheel…They get emotionally distracted by it and because they don’t have enough other opportunities going on, they replay this one over and over…

Objectively, they know that it does them absolutely no good to keep reliving or reciting what they could have said or should have said in the interview. The more they do it, the more frustrated they become and then the more they do it..They often even call me and want to review over and over what they should have said… It does absolutely no good!

Everyone, objectively, knows what the doctor says when the patient dies… “Next.” The outcome may not be what he or she wants, or even likes, but they can’t do anything about it and they can’t afford  to have it affect the future practice of even the immediate moment… They have to let it go…

If a job seeker has enough interviewing cycles going on they really don’t have much time to ruminate and practice perseveration… They simply replay the interview the correct way and then move on to the next one… If they do it right they don’t have time to do anything but figure out what they would have changed and move on…

… fake it till you make it

Okay, I know you’re not supposed to fake it much in the interviewing and job search process… You can’t try to be what you’re not… agreed. but there comes a time… or two or three …in each interviewing process that you are thrown off and at a loss as to what to do or say… here is where you have to fake it till you make it…

You have to communicate courage when you don’t feel courageous… you have to communicate confidence when you don’t feel confident… I have discussed often in previous posts about your body language in the interviewing situation… If you want a real treat Go to:                                 http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are And listen to this Ted talk…

This is a very inspiring ted talk… It offers some great ideas of how to prepare right before an interview and gives great insight esspecially regarding body language and some of the things you can do to make yourself more exciting and focused… It also gives advice into those few moments in the interviewing process are you just have to fake it till you make it

 

 

…more misguided (… Stupid) advice

So this week some job search guru goes on LinkedIn and writes an article about how interviewing and hiring authorities have an obligation to give you feedback about your interview with them… The guy goes on and on about how hiring authorities should and ought to give you feedback on the interview you had with them and how if you keep calling them, the good ones realize their obligation and will give you feedback…

Hokum… Garbage… BS… Laughable… Like what planet are you living on?… It’s obviously clear that this guy has never spent much time finding people jobs… It’s totally misleading to tell people that they’re going to get feedback from an interviewing or hiring authority more than, maybe once out of 15 times…

This guy goes on and on about how good managers, interviewers and hiring authorities should and will give you honest feedback  about your interview…DON’T BUY ONE WORD OF IT… I don’t know what this guy is smoking or where he dreamed this idea up… But the truth is 99.99% of all of the people you will interview with, unless they are really interested in hiring you and are incredibly nice,  are NOT going to give you any feedback about you or your interviewing…

Should they be willing to give you feedback? … Yes!… Will they tell you that they will?… Yes! Do they know it’s courteous to do that?… Yes!… Will they do it?… NO!!! is it rude?… Yes!…  Is it discourteous?! …Yes!… But, are they going to do it?…NO!

It’s not a matter that they are intentionally mean, or insincere, or rude… They are simply unintentionally mean, insincere, and rude… So you ask “how can people be that way?”… Really easy… They just are! You notice me writing about ‘spiritual beings acting human?’… Well, this is a manifestation of spiritual beings acting human…

So, you may ask for feedback from folks you’ve interviewed… Just plain don’t expect it… If you get it, you are blessed… but just don’t expect it. Don’t waste your time wondering why, hoping, wishing, begging, wondering, speculating… Just accept the fact that you’re not going to get it, quit cursing the darkness and move on to the next opportunity…

Having done this for more than 40 years the only reason I can imagine that people will be, at best, inconsiderate is because they are so busy and so wrapped up in their own lives that giving you feedback on your performance in an interview is just  not a high priority to them… Ironically,  when they become a candidate and go to look for a job they can’t believe that interviewing and hiring authorities are so rude…

So, quit losing any emotion over this and move on…

… boomer women have left the workforce

Up until recently, more baby boomer women than men had been in the workforce… the current employment participation rate for adult men is 77.8% and for women it’s only 58.5%… Why?… How does it affect the economy? There are 1 million fewer women between the ages of 45 and 60 in the workplace today  than there were in 2009. The impact on the economy is obvious because there are 1 million fewer people earning money to move around in the economy. Here are the major reasons our society is experiencing this phenomenon. More women these days are having children when they are older. Many of them began their career, married later than previous generations and started having families later. At the “prime” age for earning… 45 to 55, many of these women still have children in a home that need to be cared for.  Even if they had children at a young age there “young adult” children,, being the lowest percentage of working Americans in the workforce …are moving home and often, these mothers  feel compelled to be at home with their adult children. A woman with children  who plans on going back to work when the children are still young  are faced with a very high cost of childcare.  Often the cost of the childcare outweighs a salary. In fact the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the US and is growing, outweighing the cost of food and housing. So, faced with the cost of childcare, it might be more economical for a woman to stay home rather than work outside the home and pay for child care. The elderly are living longer these days and when their health fails it is logical for their female daughters to stay home and care for them. The average age of unpaid, adult family caregivers, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance is 48 years old…In the sweet spot of a person’s prime professional earnings age range. And making matters worse,  when these women do come back into the workforce after a three or four year period of time, their skills are perceived to be more outdated than with men. This must be because of the perceived jobs and skills that are associated with women. The truth is that there are no more deterioration of skills with out of work women then there are with out of work men. Next week: … How these women can get back into the workplace.

…Teaching folks how to get a job

I’m firmly convinced that the majority of people that are out of work and claim they are looking for a job really aren’t… When you look on the Internet about “how to find a job,” 90% of the stuff you see talks about how to craft a resume and how to send a resume to a company…Sending a resume is NOT Looking for a job… It just isn’t… On top of the entitlement attitude of “where’s my job?…can you email it to me?” People really don’t do all of the things they need to do to get a job… To get a job, you gotta get interviews… Face-to-face interviews… those are absolutely the only things that matter… and then you have to do a lot of it… It’s gonna take, on average, 16 interviews to get a job offer… even if you don’t like that job offer… In the last blog post I wrote, I explained how many calls and how many presentations of yourself it’s going to take to get one person that might listen to you and how many of those it’s going to take in order to get somebody interested in you and how many of those it’s going to take to get somebody to interview you… I can’t change the stats… your effort to get interviews is going to take one hell of a lot of work… And then you have to sell yourself, really, really hard… most people just plain don’t interview very well… they don’t sell themselves… they say stupid stuff… they don’t ask for feedback… they don’t ask for the job… so they don’t get hired… 60% of the people who were hired are hired through personal contacts… relatives, friends, acquaintances, present and previous peers… Everyone knows at least 200 people… Remember there are 7.4 million business establishments in the United States with an average of 15.4 people working in them… and every one of them needs help… every one of them!… If one person made an offer to one business that they could show that business how to make them more money or save them more money and really did it,  7.4 million people could go to work tomorrow… Pretty simple!

… change the attitudes towards work in getting a job

Unfortunately, our country has developed a societal attitude that work is a right not a privilege… We all need to develop more of an immigrant attitude… I really don’t need to describe that in detail, because we all know what an immigrant attitude is… Secondly we need to communicate that it’s going to be very, very, very, very hard to find a job… It isn’t something you simply sign up for like you do with all the other entitlements… Along the same line ,people have to realize that they may have to take a pay cut and start out in a lower position than they had before in order to get their foot back in the door… We then need to prepare people for the emotional strain that looking for a job is… I’m always amazed that people don’t expect how psychologically difficult it’s going be to find a job… Engage in talking to someone who’s been out of work for more than a year and you can hear the tension in their voice and almost feel the depleted spirit… People need to be aware that the competition for a job is phenomenal… There are at least 8 to 10 very well-qualified candidates for every job and just because people think they are qualified doesn’t mean they are going to get hired or that the hiring authority thinks they are qualified …Looking for a job successfully is a sheer numbers thing… Most people don’t try hard enough to get enough interviews, which is the first mistake… Then, when they don’t get a job right away, they give up way too easily, quit way too soon and then claim they can’t find a job… They claim that there are just “no jobs out there” it takes an average of 16 interviews to get a job… it takes talking to 10 hiring authorities to get one interview… and it takes 100 calls to speak with one hiring authority… In short, it is very diligent, hard work with tons of rejection and refusal… And lastly in this list is to quit cursing the darkness… Complaining bitching and moaning about the way things are does absolutely no good…

…So what we do about all this

So, it’s really easy to criticize… Anybody can sit here and write/complain about entitlements, child care, peoples attitude, climate change, the war In the Middle East, etc… so here are my humble solutions to the problem: As with many government entitlements, they start out with good intentions and devolve to the downside of Gladwell’s inverted U… I’m a product of the 60′s and, at the time was a great believer in LBJ’s Great Society… like many liberals we all thought “helping the poor” is a necessary idea…but the consequences have been. disasterous.. I remember working in “projects” when I was a freshman in college at St. Louis University in 1965, thinking that it was so wonderful that the government was building 15 and 20 story “projects” for people who really couldn’t afford them… 10 years later they were tearing them down because they deteriorated beyond repair… and we are now in our second, and the third generation of people who expect the government programs to take care of them… The idea, for instance of unemployment insurance for people while they are looking for a job seems reasonable to most people, especially those who are gainfully employed… it appears to be the empathetic thing to do… the key is while someone is looking for a job… it turns out, as Gladwell would site, that unemployment insurance prolongs unemployment… the number of unemployed people who find jobs within 90 days after their unemployment expires is staggering… unemployment insurance becomes a hindrance rather than a help.. so the first thing we should do is decrease the amount and the time people receive unemployment… you would be shocked at the number of people who tell me that they don’t want to go on an interview because they can make more money on unemployment than working the job I present to them… not good.  Instead of “unemployment” benefits the government should give tax credits to companies for hiring people who have been out of work for more than six months or a year… get rid of the word “benefit ” and describe unemployment as the “tax” it is and make it clear to people who receive “unemployment insurance” they are really receiving “other people’s money”…A novel idea would be to “assign” one working person to sponsor another individual who is receiving unemployment insurance and make it mandatory that the recipient of the unemployment insurance report to their “sponsor” every week when they receive unemployment as to what they are doing to get a job… to make it even more personal we could assign a “sponsor” for this who paying into the system about the same amount that the recipient is receiving… as though the employed person is personally “sponsoring” the unemployed one and is demanding accountability More next week………….

… other issues that discourage people from looking for and taking a job

Some of these are practical and some are social issues… some of them drive me nuts because they ring with “entitlements”… others are simply facts of life…

The cost of child care is too high… the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the states in the nation and has been growing steadily, outweighing cost of food and housing… the cost of child care can surpass that of in-state tuition at four-year public colleges in 31 states… unfortunately the largest demographic hit is single mothers… the National Institutes of Health says that low income single mothers with young childcare challenges can be a significant barrier to even finding a job… it’s not a uncommon for child care to absorb one quarter of what the mothers earn

People don’t want to or can’t commute ….in a recent poll by MRINetwork 75% of almost 600 people said “they would turn down a job offer because of the long commute”…

Maintaining your place in the benefits system is a full-time, arduous job… government programs have become very strict about who receive benefits… even though the numbers of people receiving government benefits is staggering, people have to spend a lot of time actually working with the programs to stay in the parameters… government offices are packed every day in this country… they require appointments, paperwork, filing, re-filing and re-qualifying, literally standing in line all day for unemployment, Social Security insurance, disability and food assistance programs are daunting… trying to keep up with this challenge and then go out to job hunt takes a super effort, zapping a person’s energy and attitude.

Feeling stigmatized by potential employers… study after study has shown that resumes of people who are out of work for 27 weeks or more are automatically eliminated… in a recent study, 5000 identical resumes except for the fact that half reflected being unemployed for more than 27 weeks were sent to prospective employers…not one  of the candidates out of work for more than 27 weeks were invited to interview… So the concern for being stigmatized is real.

next week: solutions

… Some of the reasons why people get discouraged about working

We’ve created an interesting approach to finding a job in this country… in the guise of “safety nets” we have created a society where individuals feel that they should be able to find a job exactly like you want easily and on their terms… there seems to be a level of “I want job, but, I’m not gonna…”

People don’t want to take a pay cut. 40% of Americans who have seen long-term unemployment benefits have previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000 a year. They are considered “poor.” The vast majority of these people will not consider interviewing for a job at less money than what they were earning before even though they’ve been out of work for a long period of time… they will claim “I really don’t want us to”… once they pass up one or two opportunities, they feel compelled to pass up other ones that aren’t as good as the first one or two they were presented with…

Amazingly enough, 69% of Americans surveyed in 2013 by the Allegis Group stated that they would not take a job with the company would have any “bad reputation, even if they were unemployed”… and here is a phenomenally ironic twist, 33% of this group said that the only thing that would change their mind about a company’s “reputation” would be if they received a 50% increase in their previous page. It appears that a bad reputation is “relative” to the money people are paying … go figure! It’s hard to decide what a “bad reputation” means

Many people, often unemployed for long periods of time, try to find the “perfect” fit in finding a job… many have lost so much confidence in themselves they are afraid to accept any kind of job… because of low self-esteem ,they even quit job hunting altogether… a great many job seekers fall prey to the confusion of activity with productivity and spend their time sending resumes over the Internet… this is a really quick way to become discouraged… they hear nothing from the people they send their resumes to and become very discouraged very fast… unfortunately if you Google the search phrase “how do people find jobs?” The vast majority of articles and answers center around online job search of some sort… in other words people are encouraged to seek a job “online”…

next week, more discouraging facts and attitudes