Category Archives: job search

…the ‘stop gap’ job

i’m  asked every day about the wisdom of taking a ‘stop gap’…’put food on the table’ type job..it is a very tough question..

on the one hand, folks need to eat…you can’t blame someone for doing what they have to do by taking a ‘get by’ job and continuing to look for a more professional job commensurate with what they had before…

here are some challenges with a ‘stop gap’ job…even if you can find one…

they get in the way of interviewing for a better job…can’t tell you how many times a candidate has said to me, “well can you change the time of that interview, tony…i  have to be at my ‘get by’ job then”…

interviews…good interviews are hard to come by…OK…but the last thing a candidate wants is to miss one because of a job they aren’t going to keep, but have to in order to put bread on the table..it is frustrating and…if it happens too often, most recruiters won’t run the risk of getting this candidate an interview, only to be told that the candidate “can’t make it” because of their ‘stop gap’ job… there are too many qualified candidates that are looking for a job on a full time basis..

another challenge is that candidates start comparing a good job opportunity with their ‘stop gap’ job…they’ll say things like..”well, i’m making almost that much now in this ‘stop gap’ job…so if i can’t get more than what i was making in my last real job, i’ll keep this one until i find exactly what i’m looking for…” or they get picky about the location of the better real job interview, or the kind or size of company or all kinds of other things that keep them from interviewing…

a ‘stop gap’ job often creates a “fear of success” mentality… it happens when the candidate sets their sights so high about the real job they want, they never can seem to find it, because they get unrealistic about what kind of jobs are really available and they become so comfortable with their ‘stop gap’ job they use it as a crutch…they are always going to try to find a “better” job that only exists in their imagination… they never really have to leave their ‘stop gap’ job because they can’t find what they really want in a new job…

‘stop gap’ jobs e-l-o-n-g-a-t-e into months …even years…it is hard to convince a hiring authority that you are serious about your career when you explain that you have had your ‘stop gap’ job for eighteen months r two years…

this happens a lot…it isn’t intentional…candidates take these kind of jobs with the intention of leaving for a real job…but time passes and all of a sudden they see that they have been on the job eighteen months or two years…now they really have a ‘gap’ in their professional resume…it is really hard to explain…and most hiring managers, forgetting how difficult this market is, won’t believe that the candidate was really trying to leave the ‘stop gap’ job… 

 one tip is to take a ‘stop gap’ job that allows a lot of daily time to interview….an early morning shift at Starbucks…an evening gig as a waitstaff person at a local restaurant…even a night shift janitorial job…anything that leaves you free during the day to search for a full time, professional job…

take a ‘stop gap’ job if you must…but be aware of the challenges

…why don’t people follow the instructions

it is sooooooooo simple…

my candidate asked, when interviewing with two of the sales people

that were part of the interviewing process: “are you going to recommend to the president that he hire me?”

they said: “..well, it is really not my decision..”

he said (and this is great): “i’m not buying that…you are part of the decision making process or you wouldn’t be interviewing me….they obviously think highly of your opinion…

what attracts me to this company is that you all are a close knit group… you rely on one another…you seem to watch each other’s back…i really like that and want to be a part of it…

..now, are you going to tell the president to hre me?”

he had to ask one of sales people this question twice…but he got the answer he wanted…”yes…i will recommend you..”

when he was interviewing with the v.p…he asked the v.p. five times if he would recommend him…the v.p. finally said, “you really want this job, don’t you?”…”you have my vote!”

what is funny/sad…whatever, i try to teach every candidate i get past first base to do this and they don’t..

the highest compliment a teacher can get is a student who executes the plays the way they are drawn up…go figure …

..why don’t people follow the instructions?????

 

…dealing with “bruised credit”

we hear it weekly…candidate gets into the finals of the interviewing  process…is told they are a finalist…will have their references and credit checked…

then, oh my, the candidate reveals that they have “bruised” credit…this can be everything from very, very bad credit to poor credit…

in these difficult economic times, it is not suprising that many people’s credit is “bruised”…slightly to very badly..

these days, employers are more prone to check credit on most candidates, even if the position is not a financial oriented job….it use to be that a candidate’s credit was checked only when the job had to do with financial positions…i.e. where money was involved..

these days, though, hiring authorities have a hard time checking references with previous employers, who, more often than not, adopt a “we don’t give references of any type” policy…so, they resort to other objective reports like criminal records and credit reports…

the assumption is that, if your credit is poor, you are a poor employee…

it does no good to argue this issue…if you have bruised credit, best assume you will be eliminated from most any financially oriented job…we even had a candidate lately who was eliminated from an insurance adjusters position because of his poor credit…

we recomend not sharing a poor credit issue unitl you find out that your credit will be checked…(by the way, you can’t refuse this being done without immediately being eliminated from contention)..

once you are informed, tell the hiring authority that your credit has been bruised and ask him or her if that will be an issue…you might share with them the reasons for the situation…we had a candidat a few years ago whose identity was stolen and she was still “recovering” from a poor credit issue through no fault of her own…

some hiring authorities may be able to work with you if they really like you…sometimes they may not have any choice depending on company policies..

you want to be sure that, if you find that a credit report will be reviewed and you have had challenges, the employer does not find out from the credit report itself…especially if you are told that the report will be part of the screening process…

if an employers thinks you are withholding information from him or her, you won’t get hired…

…till your butt’s in the chair

two weeks ago, one of our candidates got a verbal job offer…$150,000 plus commissions, etc…start date, end of november..maybe december…maybe the first of the year (..almost 3 months away)

i said, “that’s really strange….doesn’t make sense…” …i told him not to trust it…he should keep looking and not stop..he marginally agreed…but he was convinced he had found a job

friday, they call him and tell him the position has been put on hold..we feel so badly for him but there is nothing anyone can do.

lesson: don’t count on anything in this job market…until your butt’s in the chair (…and even then) …don’t stop looking for a good opportunity… keep interviewing…even if you get a written offer…once you start a job…and have been there a while, then shut the process down..

…the risk of relocating for a new job

heard from a recent candidate of ours…he took a new job in Florida …the deal has not worked out and he is trying to get back to Texas…and it is really hard to do

it is hard for him to come interview…he’d love if someone will help him out with relo expenses…he is really in a tough spot…the competition for the kind of thing he is looking for is very keen….

lesson: not good to take a new job with a new company and immediately relocate…as much as no one will admit to this, new jobs do not work out 20% of the time…and you are stuck in a new city with no job or having to look for one and you don’ t know many people…all your contacts are “back home”..

so, if you have to relocate for a new job, commute to it for six months or so to see if it is a good fit…then relocate.., also try to get the company you are going to work for to agree to help you get back home if the situation doesn’t work out…do this before you take the new job…

…the long distance job search

we get a number of calls every day from folks trying to find a job here in dallas from some distant city…it is so hard to explain that unless you are in a very narrow, well defined profession where there a many job opportunities, trying to find a job when you aren’t here is virtually impossible..

what folks don’t realize is that there are lots and lots of people already living here that are competing for those jobs…and if an employer can hire someone already here, they simply eliminate the risk of the candidate not being able, for any reason, to move here after they are hired…

now, if you are an accountant, engineer, or IT professional, you may be able to come to town and stay for a while and find a job before you move..

but if you are gainfully employed and are not in the rare class of candidates that can get hired almost immediately, the idea that you might come to town for one or two interviews, then come back for subsequent interviews..and then do it again if the first opportunity doesn’t work out…simply isn’t practical

even coming to town for a week or two, expecting to land a new job is unrealistic…short of a miracle, finding a job that quickly isn’t likely

…”well, my severance is about to run out”

…hello! …wake up! what employer is going to want to hire a candidate that says that the reason he started looking for a job is that his severance is about to run out…

..on top of that, the candidate put off looking for a job for four months, and in the next two months his severance will end, and so he has decided to look for a job…

THINK THIS: “How does what I say appear to a perspective employer? Do I come across as a hard working, determined employee who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?”

failures in the job search process

Michael Jordan stated: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted with the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again all my life. And that is why I succeed!”

in order for your job search to be successful, you best expect lots of “failures”…failures to get interviews, to do well in some interviews…to get offers that you want..

in fact, that is part of the deal…even the best candidates have to get 12 interviews to get an offer…even one they may not like…and these are candidates with exceptional experience and credentials..

so…you have to expect misses…it is part of the “game”… in fact, if you follow my mentorship, you realize that the “misses” are simply steps toward successes…

keep shooting…get as many interviews as you can…sell yourself as hard as you can…remember what Zig Ziglar said many years ago..”a big shot is simply a little shot that kept on shooting!”

good grades in school

we are at Wake Forest this weekend…our youngest son is graduating from there…it made me think about how getting good grades in college can really makes a difference in your future…

now, many of us, like me, got by in undergrad with C’s…we still did OK, because we work hard…

BUT, it sure makes a big difference if you can show folks that you are smart..yes, even, “book smart”…common sense has to be there…but being smart sure helps you in life…and employers love it..

so when interviewing, even if you have been out of school for a few years, if your grades were really good, let the hiring authority know you did well in school…

if you didn’t do so well in the first year or two of college and did well in the last couple of years …or you had good grades in your major, but your overall gpa wasn’t so hot…don’t hesitate to share with a hiring authority that you did well in those situations…

if your grades in college were not that hot, whatever you do, don’t justify poor performance…something like, “My grades were not as good as I would have liked. If I had it to do over again, I would have studied harder,” works well. Then emphasize working hard at “other” things, like a job during school, or social activities, i.e. fraternity, sorority, organizations, politics, etc.

You will never be able to make reasonable excuses for poor grades, so don’t try.

If your kids or someone you know is starting college, tell them that Tony said that few things take the place of being smart…you can open many more doors in your career with good grades…