…the jobseeker’s advantage

I’m continually amazed, even after 40 years of being in the placement and recruitment business how lackadaisical and reactive instead of being proactive job-search candidates are. For most folks about the most proactive things they do in a job-search is call a few of their friends, acquaintances, a recruiter or two and then, the ultimate job-search activity… send resumes over the Internet. They send and hope, send and hope, hope and send and send and hope. Hope is not a strategy! And then they tell me that there looking for a job really hard.

The most successful job seekers are the ones that are very, very proactive. They don’t just “send” a resume to a company. They pick up the phone and call the manager of the department that they would be applying to and present themselves as a job candidate and actually ask for face-to-face interview. They don’t sit and wait for the phone to ring. They pick up the phone and they call at least 35 to 40 people a day… people they know and people they don’t know… and make a presentation on themselves to a hiring authority while asking for face-to-face interview.

These people will find Linkedin connections to people and organizations they would like to interview with. They call these connections and ask for support to get an interview. They will actually sit in the lobby of a hiring authority’s office unannounced and try to get an appointment with him or her. They do whatever they can to make as many contacts and get as many interviews as possible. And they don’t stop even when they get rejected and refused. They realize that getting refused and rejected it simply a “no.” They know that they will have to get 15 to 20 “no’s” before you get a “yes.” It’s nothing personal, it simply means that someone else is going to get the opportunity to hire them. I know some of these candidates who actually count the “no’s” and celebrate them knowing that they are one more “no” toward a “yes.”

These kind of candidates push to get themselves interviews. Once they do, they prepare themselves extremely well for the interview. They practice their presentation of themselves so they have it down to as close to perfection as they can get. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of the hiring authority. They sell themselves to their strengths and are aware of their own vulnerabilities. They sell their features, advantages and benefits. They end each interview by asking the interviewing authority their opinion about how they stack up with the other candidates being interviewed, if the hiring authority has any concerns about their ability to do the job and then they ask, the most important question, “what do I need to do to get the job?”

These people are relentless in getting as many interviews as they can even though they think they might be getting offers. They proactively follow up every interview with, not only a thank you but a summary of the interview and a phone call to the hiring or interviewing authority thanking them for their time and asking for a follow-up interview.

These kind of candidates never stop focusing on the process…the proactive process of getting initial interviews, performing well on the initial interviews, getting follow-up interviews, performing well on all follow-up interviews, making themselves unique in the eyes of the interviewing or hiring authority and then asking for a job. They are always in control of numerous interviewing cycles. They follow this process over and over and over and over until they find a job they really like.

…owning your own business

This is one of the hardest issues to overcome when you are interviewing for a job… a reader wrote in and asked about how to overcome having owned their own business…I get this question to my radio program at least twice a month…

First of all, you have to understand why having  your own business is such a concern on the part of the hiring authority… the first, and major issue is, that they are concerned  that you’re going to go to work there and start telling them how they are run their business… the “well, when I was in business this is how we ran things…” and then proceed to tell them how they ought to do it.. there’s always the fear that if you don’t like your new job you’ll go into business for yourself again… I know this makes absolutely no common sense, but when you have been in business for yourself, you have one more risk factor and you have what most of the other candidates don’t…

You’re sitting to thinking, “who wouldn’t want someone who has run their own business, who knows the ups and downs of business, who knows how to manage employees, and knows how to manage relationships with the bank, the IRS, etc… you think it’s a definite advantage to having your own business but a prospective employer does not… so quit thinking it and quit justifying it… you need to know it is a big concern, a big risk factor on the part of your interviewing or hiring authority…

So here are some of the “lip loads” and concepts and you can communicate to the employer about having owned your own business that will turn the lemon into lemonade… “I realize that having owned my own business  is usually a concern on the part of the hiring organization, but in my particular case is a great advantage… it’s a very humbling experience to own your own business… first of all, I had tons of people that I ‘reported to’.. first of all, my spouse (chuckle) {that is a joke}.., but seriously I always felt like I answered to my employees, my customers, the bank, the IRS and so forth… I never really felt that anybody worked ‘for me’… I felt they worked ‘with me’… it was a tremendous amount of responsibility and certainly makes me appreciate all business owners and managers … I. certainly know how to treat their money like it was my money and have a keen appreciation more than most ‘employees’ might..”

“I learned a tremendous amount by owning and managing our own business… mostly what I learned was that all of us are really ‘self employed’ no matter who signs the paycheck… In the end we all have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘did we do the best we could today based on the talents that God has given us’… someone else may be responsible for the paycheck, but we are all really responsible for our own performance…”

This kind of approach is the best way to deal with having owned your own business… mostly it’s a humble approach communicating the idea that we all may “work for” someone, but  in the final analysis, we are responsible to ourselves.

…congrats to lee

Lee was not an experienced or seasoned candidate our client was interviewing… in fact, experientially he was on the way low end of the scale…

When the strongest candidate.. most experienced and accomplished, at least on paper …was finished interviewing with the VP, she asked him how she stacked up with the other candidates and he told her that she was #2… she couldn’t believe it… she had never come in at #2 in any interviewing situation… so she asked the VP what the #1 candidate had over her…

Our client/VP told her… that he had before the interview, contacted a number of the employees of the company to see what they thought of it… he also called three customers of the company and asked detailed questions about the performance of the company’s product, their culture, etc… he even called two prospects that the company was trying to sell to get their opinion of the company and its products.

After he did his research he created a 30, 60, 90 day plan about what he would do in the first 90 days of his employment… he designed a 10 page/slide PowerPoint discussing his attributes and how they would fit the company’s mission and how he would be successful… in the initial interview he made a masterful presentation of himself and what he could do for the company… he even went so far as to research the leaders of the company and drew analogies about himself related to their backgrounds and their experiences…

He spent 2 1/2 hours meeting the hiring authority through his background and experience…

The hiring authority said that in 20 years he had never had anybody Interview so well…

you know…you know… you know

I’m continually annoyed with people who put “fillers” in their speech patterns… especially in the interviewing situation… I know they’re not conscious of their using these “lip loads,” but they are still annoying… here are the ones I hear most often:

“You know… you know… you know”… it makes you sound so stupid

“Honestly”… as though you haven’t been honest with me and the other things you’ve said?

“Let me be honest with you”… which means you haven’t been honest with me up until now?

“Trust me”… and you say it so many times that I have to really wonder if I can or should.

“Let me be transparent”… as though you’ve been hiding stuff from me throughout the whole conversation.

So, analyze your speech patterns… if you are in the habit of saying these or any other “lip loads” like them you are probably not as aware of them as you should be. Ask people around you who live with you and then practice speaking by avoiding these patterns.

In the interviewing situation, people were probably oversensitive to just about everything  you might say…don’t give them a reason to dismiss what you say by being distracted by these phrases.

… another spring break

I guess I’m interrupting the normal “knowledge” that I try to impart to vent just a bit… it’s things like this that tell me why people have a hard time finding a job or maybe, in their hearts, don’t want to

Four times in the last two days, candidates… all of whom are out of work… have told me they can’t go on interviews next week because they’re going on… spring break… now these are solid, professional people, having earned in the mid-hundred thousands… all of them are out of work… one has been out of work for six months… one out of work for four months and the other two out of work for two months… they are really having a hard time finding a job…

Call it my dazzling skill or simply luck, but I got them all interviews for next week and they all told me they couldn’t go because they’re going on spring break… one of them is only 150 miles from Dallas and could easily come back to town one day of his interview… the lady that’s been out of work for six months has only had one interview in that whole time… the interview I got for her was for this coming Monday and she says she couldn’t postpone her trip in order to interview…

What is America coming to? Where are our work values? What happened to the work ethic that got this country where it was… I say “was” because, based on this very small sample of out of work candidates our country’s work ethic isn’t what it used to be… one of these guys is living on unemployment and borrowed money from his mother to take the family on spring break… you gotta be kidding me!

It’s really sad…

… owning your own business

At least three or four times a week, I personally, have a discussion with a potential candidate who has been self-employed or been the president of or managed their own business. Most everyone of them is astounded and, in many cases, downright mad when I explaine to them that they’re going to have a very hard time finding someone to hire them.

Their reasoning is illogical. They figure that if they’ve been successful in running a company or running their own business, they are going to make a stellar employee and just about any company would love to have them. They are blown away when I explained the facts… that most companies don’t to hire someone who has been in their on business because:1. they don’t want someone working for them who is even going to think saying, “wow, when I ran my own business we did it this way…” 2. They don’t want to always been the boss and it is not “reported” to anyone…3. They don’t want to hire someone who’ll might wake up one morning and decide they don’t like the job and go back into business for themselves.

Every candidate has a number of “risk factors.” These are factors or experiences in their background that pose “risks” to an employer. Things like short stints on the resume… being out of work for a long period of time, being fired etc. are all risk factors. Most hiring authorities are trying to eliminate as many of the risk factors in each candidate as they can. Put another way, they want to hire the candidate with the fewest risk factors. What candidates have to understand is that having owned or run your own business is a risk factor in them that the hiring authority may not have with other candidates. In other words the candidate who is owned or run their own business in competing with other candidates with one more risk factor than most of the other candidates. Since the hiring authority wants to minimize “risk factors” he or she simply passes over the person who is owned or run their own business. It’s that simple!

I’m not going to say that people who have run their own business never get hired by other people, because it does happen. But this factor will is very difficult to deal with and overcome. Next week, I’ll share with you the best way to deal with this concern that the hiring authority will have.

… owning your own business

At least three or four times a week, I personally, have a discussion with a potential candidate who has been self-employed or been the president of or managed their own business. Most everyone of them is astounded and, in many cases, downright mad when I explaine to them that they’re going to have a very hard time finding someone to hire them.

Their reasoning is illogical. They figure that if they’ve been successful in running a company or running their own business, they are going to make a stellar employee and just about any company would love to have them. They are blown away when I explained the facts… that most companies don’t to hire someone who has been in their on business because:1. they don’t want someone working for them who is even going to think saying, “wow, when I ran my own business we did it this way…” 2. They don’t want to always been the boss and it is not “reported” to anyone…3. They don’t want to hire someone who’ll might wake up one morning and decide they don’t like the job and go back into business for themselves.

Every candidate has a number of “risk factors.” These are factors or experiences in their background that pose “risks” to an employer. Things like short stints on the resume… being out of work for a long period of time, being fired etc. are all risk factors. Most hiring authorities are trying to eliminate as many of the risk factors in each candidate as they can. Put another way, they want to hire the candidate with the fewest risk factors. What candidates have to understand is that having owned or run your own business is a risk factor in them that the hiring authority may not have with other candidates. In other words the candidate who is owned or run their own business in competing with other candidates with one more risk factor than most of the other candidates. Since the hiring authority wants to minimize “risk factors” he or she simply passes over the person who is owned or run their own business. It’s that simple!

I’m not going to say that people who have run their own business never get hired by other people, because it does happen. But this factor will is very difficult to deal with and overcome. Next week, I’ll share with you the best way to deal with this concern that the hiring authority will have.

…your odds of getting a job by posting your resume to an online ad

• On average, 1000 in 1500 individuals view a job posting.
• Between 200 and 275 of these people will begin the application process or send a resume.
• Between 150 and 180 people will complete an application…
• 90 to 110 of those resumes or applications will be scanned by an ATS or some type of human screener …who may or may not know what they are looking for.
• 20 to 25 resumes will be sent to a hiring authority.
• 4 to 6 candidates will be invited to interview.
• 1 to 2 of them will be invited back for subsequent and final interviews.
• 25% of the time the “search” will start all over because the hiring authority doesn’t feel he or she has seen enough quality candidates…or doesn’t like what he or she has seen and the process starts all over again.
• Of the remaining 75% of the time, one of the finalists will be offered the job and 80% of those finalists will accept. 40% of the time, the first candidate offered the job turns it down, then the second candidate is offered the position. If that candidate does not accept the job…which happens about 20% of the time…the search starts all over again.

So, based on this reality, what are a candidate’s odds of getting hired by submitting a resume to an online job posting? Very, very, very slim…about 1 in 375 to 400.

… the last of the stupid stuff

Remember, when it comes time for them to make an offer, they really, really want you and so you’re in the driver’s seat. The minute you start thinking this, you’re just “thought” yourself out of a job. When organizations go to make you an offer, it is true that they do want you, but you better be sure that they’ve got two or three other people right behind you that they could easily want just as much in a heartbeat. The difference between you, the person they want to make an offer to and the number two candidate is so very slim, you can’t even afford to think this way. So, negotiate in good faith but don’t think you’re any kind of big shot, driver seat.

Target the top 10 companies you would like to go to work for and focus everything you can to get an interview with them. This myth has been around for a number of years and I’m still amazed that people given any kind of credibility. What if those 10 organizations you have “targeted” don’t need to hire anybody… or they have no use for any kind of experience you’ve got. This is the height of solipsism…that you are the center of the universe… the only thing that matters. I already have a problem if you are only targeting  those top 10 companies… but try targeting may be 500 or 600, because that’s how many it’s going to take in order to get a job…

Regarding any advice you get about finding a job… consider the source…

…and still more dumb-ass advice on the net

Tell the interviewing authority that you need more money because… and then state the reason why you need more money..And then pack up your briefcase and leave because you’re not going to get hired. I can’t even imagine that anybody would ever, ever, ever instruct anyone to do something like this. Never tell an interviewing or hiring authority what you need They don’t care what you need. Now they might care what you want based on their desire to hire you, but even then it’s in the light of what they want. I can only imagine that the reasoning behind this is used to communicate to the hiring authority what  is necessary for you, economically, to take the job… so! Just don’t do this. Negotiate from what is fair and reasonable to do the job… but never from what you need.

When negotiating a salary always wince at the first offer… You aren’t buying a car here… this is not a piece of real estate… you’re not buying a rug from a Persian rug dealer. 99.99% of the hiring authorities I know would literally laugh at a candidate who winces when he or she was made an offer. If the first offer is a reasonable offer, accept the offer. If it’s not, ask the hiring authority if there is any room to negotiate. Be serious and calm but for goodness sake don’t wince  or make a stupid face.

In an interview, don’t tell people you are looking for a job…but simply exchanging information to see if there is mutual interest either now or in the future. Oh brother! This dumb advice comes from “career counselors” who think it’s advisable to act coy, cool and ‘superior’ to the idea “applying for a job.” I had a candidate one time that read this stupid stuff and didn’t tell me he was going to do it in the interview. He told our client that he “really wasn’t looking for a job, but…” the clients stood up and said, “then why are you here wasting my time?” End of  interview! This kind of approach is supposed to set you apart from those that are desperate to find a job and be one of the few people above the fray who might choose to bless the halls of the organization you are interviewing with and work there. Stupid! While a candidate like this is acting erudite, another candidate who is really looking for a job is getting it.