…good for Ken… a little luck and a little skill

Ken interviewed for a first line managers job… his background is pretty perfect but unfortunately he was flat… no enthusiasm or fire in the belly… he came  in third, even though his experience and background were better than the other candidates who interviewed…

The most impressive candidate was invited back and did a great job in the second interview in front of a group of people and looked like he was going to the offer… but a “backdoor” reference by the  VP wasn’t good at all he was quickly eliminated…

The second candidate wasn’t stellar in her initial interview but they brought her back… unfortunately, even though her skills were solid, she was so serious and tense in a group interview..( that is the problem I have with group interviews… I hate them…they are unfair to a candidate and to  a company… but, obviously I don’t write the rules)… bottom line was she choked and wasn’t the same effervescent, friendly, engaging candidate that the hiring authority initially interviewed… she bombed and just plain didn’t connect with them… so she was out…

In spite of Ken’s Initial interview flatness, he followed up with the hiring authority, etc… the initial interviewing authority wasn’t wild about bringing him back, but it was better than starting all over so, as with the rest of the candidates, he sent information for Ken to use in making a presentation to the group and invited him back for a group interview…

Ken prepared well… went to Starbucks and got a vinti “black eye,” drinking it before the interview … hiring authority said that he did great and they are now checking his references… it all looks good for Ken

a little luck and a little skill never hurt anyone

… Angela’s angst… a lesson

Up until September of last year, Angela had a relatively good inside sales job for a kid three years out of school… her company constantly told her how great she was… how good she was and how well she would eventually do in outside sales. When it was clear that the company was not going to promote her to outside sales, she started looking for a job… we tried to explain to her about what the market would bear for her based on her experience…for four or five months showed her a number of opportunities that were good, solid “one step up” from the job she had and a decent future…

Unfortunately, Angela was reading her own press clippings and was convinced that she should take no  less than an absolutely stellar position…these were two or three levels beyond her … it was hard to get interviews for her because even though her track record was good, she just didn’t have enough experience…when we got her interviews commensurate with her experience she’d simply tell us that she was “better than that” and wouldn’t go…When we did get her interviews like she wanted, she didn’t get past the initial interview… She’d get frustrated and downright mad because they wouldn’t hire her

This went on for a few months to the point where Angela just wouldn’t even consider even going on an interview that wasn’t exactly what she wanted… obviously we weren’t motivated to get her  interviews because we couldn’t convince her that the positions she was qualified for weren’t what she ideally wanted…

The other day Angela calls and says she’s now ready to get back into the market… she says that she has been humbled by the whole experience… it turns out that she got frustrated with her old job and, continuing with her egotistical ideas, quit the job she had, thinking that if she looked for a job full time she’d be better off.

Well, she tells us she looked for a job for about a month and she realized she needed an income so, thinking she could interview while she was working, took a job in retail… She has been there six months and hates it.. she now wants to find a job and she is frustrated to no end…

Here is the problem she’s created for herself… she has now been working in retail for six months and has to tell a prospective employer one of two things, either she hasn’t been working at all or she’s been working in retail… if she goes into an interview for sales and says she’s been out of work for six months, people are going to wonder why she’s been out of work so long… if she tells people that she’s been working retail for the last six months but wants to  get back in  sales they’re going to wonder, if she’s such a good salesperson, why did she take a job in retail

Angela now realizes the level of job she should take, if she can find it… and it’s going to be really hard to find… explaining what she’s been doing for the last six months but that she really wants to go into sales again and it is going to be very hard…

The angst Angela has caused herself wasn’t necessary

…that time the year again… graduation

This year isn’t any better than the last two years for graduates… 1.8 million of them will enter the workforce in May, June and July in an economy that is producing less than 150,000 jobs a month… 80% to 85% of the grads will move home after graduation… they will take  7 to 8 months to find any kind of job… they will be in debt on average $24,000…  60% of them will find a job that have nothing to do with their major…

Unfortunately the reality is that only 40% of college graduates ever visit the career Center at their University and the  majority of students don’t even start thinking about getting a job until near graduation… and to think, this is about the same place where students were the last three yearsis there a reason that students… who are supposed to be educated enough to realize “current events”… especially since those current events are affecting their future…

And the colleges and universities?… Institutions have a moral obligation to their graduates to prepare them for the job market… they don’t …academia has always taken the attitude that their job is to educate students and  after that, they really don’t care…

Parents and students who are investing anywhere from $100,000-$200,000 in a baccalaureate degree should ask a college or university, before they enter the institution, what percentage of their baccalaureate graduates have a job within three months after graduating… Likely they will get a totally blank stare from whoever they ask… and that’s sad

71% of the students who use the career Center get jobs  by graduation…. Students with internships or who worked during college at the 60% better chance of getting a job right after graduation and the ones with internships received a median income of $6000 more than those who do not have an internship… the same goes for those students who actually had a job during college…

Don Philabaum, a friend, founded the company by the name of TalentMarks., www.talentmarks.com, has developed a whole series of programs for students graduating… it’s amazing that every college and university in the country doesn’t have this program…

So, advise your graduate to:… visit the career Center…create a plan of massive action to find a job… connect with every graduate of your college or university ( it is shocking how seldom the students take advantage of these people who love to help their “own”)… be persistent… don’t quit… take any job you can get your foot in the door and… oh yeah, WORK REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD

…being a host to God rather than hostage to your ego

The job search can be one of the most ego testing experiences of a person’s life… If you are a hostage to your ego… if you are so wrapped up in yourself and judging yourself,  assuming you are being judged by others by the constant fluctuation of feeling strong one moment and feeling totally deflated the next… being told that you’re going to get an interview and never hearing from the company… being promised a second or third interview and then being totally ignored… and you are told you are going to receive an offer only to find out the person who told you that lost their job the same day…

If you are a hostage to your ego and your whole life rises and falls with how you are feeling and how you are being treated, you are in for a very long, stressful emotional roller coaster… you will be a bundle of nerves…it will grind on you and you will be beat down to the point of depression…

Maybe that’s why 3.3 million people have been out of work for more than 23 weeks and have simply quit looking for a job…

However, if  you are a host to God, your ego can’t be damaged… maybe your feelings will be hurt and you will be disappointed, and yes, you’ll still get down but you’ll bounce back more quickly because your ego can’t be damaged… Humility and acceptance take the place of pride and justice… with your most important relationships being spiritual, and the most important one, with God, you can never be alone and deflated… faith provides the gift of acceptance and the ability to accept things just the way they are… you are neither emotionally  too high or too low..

So, if your ego is  holding you hostage open your heart to God

..humor and your job search

“Is that the moon up there?”…I don’t know, I’m new in town..”…w.c. fields…very corny but funny…in fact simple kind of humor like this, jokes,funny stories exercise our brain…they keep us in touch and on our toes..we benefit from taxing our brains with humor…studies have shown that people who listen to comedy perform 20% better on creativity test…in 1987 researchers at the University of Maryland found that watching comedy more than doubles our ability to solve brainteasers…

Like exercise, humor helps to prepare them for stressful events… like looking for a job… having an active sense of humor helps us to get more from life, both cognitively and emotionally … It is a great habit to get into why you were looking for a job… tell jokes… laugh a lot… make a little kid laugh, that will put you in a great mood… nothing more invigorating than a little kid laughing

“What’s that on your shoulder?…                                                                                               It’s a Greek urn!…                                                                                                                              So whats a Greek Urn?…                                                                                                                About 40 a week!”

… newest revelation on stories and the effect on your job search

If you follow what I write regarding looking for a job you know that I recommend job-search candidates to tell stories.  From psychologists we learned that stories are successful because they remove the prejudice of the listener toward the storyteller and encourage the listener to identify with the person in the story.  By identifying with the people in the stories,  the listener becomes more engaged with the storyteller and asks themselves questions like “what would I have done in that situation? “… We are so caught up in the drama of the story that we have little emotional energy to disagree…

This is especially true in the intervening situation.  Candidates are nervous and scared and, most people are wounded. Hiring  authorities are equally afraid of making a mistake… stories soothe the other side of the desk…

Now comes a study, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience… These neuroscientists led by Uri HassonBrain believe the brain waves of the people listening to a story begin to mimic the brain waves of the storyteller… in other words the listener of the story starts “thinking” like the storyteller… using functional magnetic resonance imaging, scientists reported the neural responses of the story listeners and at the same time recorded the activity of the storyteller…  and they are the same…

So, if you want the interviewing authority to “see” the same way you and really like you as a candidate, tell real effective stories

…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.