…coming in second, third, fourth, etc.

Often my candidates are so disappointed when they come in second, third, fourth etc.  in the interview cycle … which means they don’t get hired … fair enough, I understand, you always want to try to win the job…

However,  most people aren’t aware of this, often times the difference between the candidate who gets the offer and the ones that come in second and third and fourth are so small that most hiring authorities couldn’t even tell you exactly the difference  … they’ll say things like, “well we just thought she’d fit in a little better” … or… “there was just something about him that we feel like he is the best choice”…  most of the time there is very little, if any, difference between the candidates…

I can’t tell you the number of times over the years that I’ve had a candidate who came in second, third or fourth, who eventually got hired for the job … this happens when the first or second candidate either gets other offers or decides not to take the job, leaving the door wide open to other candidates.  Years ago I placed a candidate, and he was not “THE” person that the company had offered the job. … the first eight turned it down…  the guy that got hired eventually became the owner of the company … how gratifying

The lesson in this is to be sure that no matter which position you come in, always be graceful and understanding that the organization is doing what they think is best for them at the time…  always keep the door open with a gracious and grateful attitude … thank the organization for their time, communicate that you would still love the opportunity to work for them and if that opportunity ever becomes available  again, to please let you know…

Whatever you do, DO NOT get pissed off, angry or mad … even if you feel like you have been treated wrongly, do not burn any bridges … even though losing out to another candidate is not easy to take, always be gracious … and always leave the door open for the future…

It’s not uncommon for companies to hire someone and have that person not work out in a relatively short period of time … all kinds of things can happen and there’s no sense in burning a bridge for an opportunity that again may come up with them… I think I’ve mentioned it before but I had a candidate that went to work for a company who interviewed him, didn’t hire him, but liked him so well they kept in touch with him and eventually hired him … seven years later…

so, do your best to come in #1, but don’t let coming in second, third, or fourth keep you from losing sight of the goal

… how to love your job search

Love is patient… patient with the people who tell you they’re going to call you back and then never do… patient with the people who tell you you’re a perfect candidate and you never hear from him again… patient with yourself for all your human frailties…Love is kind… Even when you don’t want to be… even when you’re frustrated, mad and angry…And it is not jealous… Of those who get a lot of interviews… of those who tell you they just got hired or those who may not be as good as you, but get hired…Love does not brag…About the fantastic interview you got or a really great job offer…And is not arrogant… We are as graceful when we get a great interview or get a great job as we are when we “strikeout” every job search technique we try…Love does not act unbecomingly… We are nice to people even when they are not nice to us… we pray for those who won’t interview us or won’t hire us…It does not seek its own… It’s knowing that if we put the hiring authority’s  needs first we will get what we want…It is not provoked… No matter how poorly you are treated or frustrated you become you never lose your cool, remembering that you can only control your own feelings and thoughts…Love does not take into account a wrong suffered… When you were lied to… when you are strung out to then be rejected… treated rudely…Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness… Life is unfair… and it affects everybody… get over it…But rejoices in truth… The truth that you are a good employee and that if you keep working hard enough you will be successful at finding a job…Love bears all things … the phenomenal ups and downs of a difficult job search…Believes all things… You know you will be successful…Hopes all things… Grateful for every opportunity you have to find a new job…Love never fails…It never, ever fails…

With apologies to St. Paul…

… the difference between being able to do the job and getting it

we hear that least three or four times a day…” I can do that job … just get me in front of them ” or  ” I can’t believe you don’t get me that interview, you and I both know  I can do the job… ” or ” you know I’ve been an excellent performer and I am an excellent employee, if you just get me in front of them, I’ll get the job… ”

Most job seekers simply don’t have realized that hiring authorities are looking to hire people with experience in exactly what they do … with a documentable, provable track record … and there are so many qualified candidates available to  hiring authorities, that  they don’t have to hire even the ” best athlete “…they have available to them at a phenomenal number, a wealth of well qualified candidates who can prove they have experience in what the employer is looking to do

There’s a big difference between being able to do the job and being able to get the job… they’re almost two different issues… most job  seekers need to be aware that in today’s job market, with employers still operating under doubt, uncertainty and fear,  they’re going to hire a candidate with as much experience and background as they can find… they aren’t willing to take any risks

Job seekers have  no idea how stiff their competition is … they look at a job posting and think, “well certainly I can do the job… ” and maybe they can … but it’s not likely they’ll get the chance simply because there are other  candidates available with documentable  and verifiable experience in what the hiring authority is looking to do…

So, the next time you see a job posting and you think, ” I know I can do that job” realized that a hring authority is looking for somebody with as much exact experience in what they do as they can get and in this market, they can find it … and, yes, even when your experience fits exactly what the hiring authority is looking for, you’re competing with at least five others that have the same kind of background and track record

…”but i made more than that 6 years ago”

we hear this statement at least once a week in our company..and it usually comes from a candidate who gets an offer much lower than they had expected..

this statement came, this week, from a guy who has been out of work for four months…he has only had two interviews in that time and, frankly, he was quite fortunate to get the offer..

he is ‘thinking about it’ over the weekend..but, are you kidding me..he is totally off base to say something so inane…he is lucky to have received an offer, let alone a good one..but he is hung up on what he use to make…

who ever got the idea that the longer they work the more they are gonna make?..the last three or four years has proven to all of us that there is no ‘normal’…there are very few absolutes and this market is unpredictable…what was, isn’t…what you use to earn has nothing to do with what your might earn today…

the most important issue is finding a good job in this market…especially if you are out of work for any length of time…remember money and title are effected by performance…focus on the job and the opportunity..don’t sell yourself short, but likewise, judge the job by today’s market…yesterday’s money is just that

…why people can’t find work

i don’t want to use this example as a universal ‘always and forever’…but it is sure indicative of why lots of people can’t find work..here is what happened.

i run an advertisement on CareerBuilder every day…it is an ad for a placement manager…a recruiter here in our company..at the end of the ad it says CALL ME…DO NOT SEND A RESUME…CALL ME…

i do this for a number of reasons..first, i want too see if people have the courage to pick up the phone and CALL ME…we are in the kind of business that requires tons of phone calls…so people have to ‘smile and dial’..it they can’t pick up the phone, they can’t make a living here..it is that simple..

the second reason is that i want to see if people follow instructions…simple enough

here is the issue..in the last three weeks 322 people have sent me a resume..only ONE person has called me…ONE…i don’t even look at the resumes of people who send them…first, they obviously aren’t aggressive enough and two, they don’t pay attention…

people are so use to simply hitting that ‘send’ button and think that they are ‘looking for a job’….they then complain that no one wants to interview them..no wonder…

PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL A HIRING MANAGER…too many people are simply sending resumes and expecting interviews…every job posting gets an average of 118 resumes….and some think they are going to get an interview that way…if you want an interview, find who the hiring manager is and CALL  him or her,  present yourself and ask for an interview…

this is why so many people can’t find work…

… humility in the job search

So you’re asking yourself “what does humility have  to do with a job search?… Well it has plenty to do with the job search..it is accepting things in a non-proudful manner… humility keeps your ego from getting ahead of your game… not letting your ego be hurt by the rejection and refusal you’ll experience.

I often get asked… or should I say, challenged… that my recommended approach to interviewing… that is selling yourself really hard… is rather egotistical and downright bodacious… there is a big preference between presenting your skills and your abilities in a humble manner than in an egotistical, in-your-face, “I’m the best you’ve ever seen” manner.

Interviewing correctly…  selling your skills and your abilities in a balanced manner,  takes practice… on the one hand, you want to sell yourself forcefully but on the other hand you don’t want to come across as egotistical or too proud… outstanding skills and attributes can be presented actually with humility…. it is a fine art.

Another application of humility is the acceptance of a large number of  rejections and refusals you will experience… this is one of the hardest parts of the job search process… never hearing from prospective employers when they tell you they are going to be back in touch with you, being ignored and even being treated rudely are things that most job candidates have a hard time getting used to… and that’s where you can apply humility.

Your humble reaction to this kind treatment makes a big difference… if you take things personally and spend time ruminating over how you were treated etc.,  you will expend a phenomenal amount of emotional energy that does you absolutely no good at all… if you accept these kinds of treatment with humility, you are left with more energy to be focused on getting more interviews and selling yourself really well… humility frees up emotional energy to be directed in the right way.

….michael responded perfectly…brilliant!!!

Michael had been on six interviews with one company… just like we talked about last time, a company that was full of doubt and uncertainty and fear… he gets down to the last interview with the hiring authority’s boss who is the last step… the hiring authority did a good job coaching Michael about what his boss was going to be looking for… in fact, he “overcoached” just a bit… he gave Michael so many “watch out for this”  that Michael, who up until this point  had been stellar, poised and confident… all of a sudden became a little nervous.

When he interviewed with the hiring authority’s boss, he was so self-conscious about getting everything in the conversation he thought he needed to that when he was asked a question he went on and on and on and on… it was like the guy who, when asked what time it was, told the time, how the watch was made and what places in Switzerland would be good to visit.

The result was that Michael didn’t let the interviewing authority get much of a word in edgewise… it so happens that the hiring authority’s boss was also a big talker and he wanted to do most of the talking… guys like that get frustrated when they can’t talk and somebody else goes on and on and on.

Michael was an excellent candidate and so the hiring authority’s boss didn’t want to totally eliminate him, but wasn’t very happy, so he instructed Michael to do a few more due diligence type things and therefore extended the interviewing process longer… at that point Michael called was just a bit irritated because the interviewing process had already gone way longer than anybody thought it would… but here is the beauty of what Michael did.

When the hiring authority told Michael that he really didn’t listen to his boss  like he should, that he ran off at the mouth and that he really didn’t give his boss a chance to have a give and take conversation, instead of getting pissed and justifying what he did… which most candidates would do… Michael said “you know, I was trying so hard to do it right… I was trying so hard to answer every question with everything I knew…I ran off at the mouth… I’m really sorry… if  I had it to do again I would’ve done it differently”.

As I say, most candidates would’ve gotten all pissed off and justified what they did… Michael however, acknowledged his mistake, asked for forgiveness and moved on to the next subject… brilliant!!!

The hiring authority even commented about how gracefully Michael accepted the criticism… it’s really easy to get defensive in situations like this… Michael showed his professionalism by accepting responsibility for what he did, apologizing and asking for forgiveness… brilliant!!!

… your potential employer… doubt, uncertainty and fear

Every candidate looking for a job should be aware of just how darned afraid of making a mistake companies are… especially if they’ve had problems with a particular position they are trying to replace.

One of our clients is a $200 million services firm… not real big not real small… over the last two years they had two very, very unsuccessful first line managers in their Dallas office… the first one was a local guy who was hurriedly hired by a regional director who, in hindsight, was leaving the company and didn’t really care who he hired… after that guy failed, the new regional director, out of California, tried to hire a new manager using his own “network” … we spoke to the regional director a year ago, he claimed that his company was so good that they didn’t need to pay a fee to our organization and they had plenty of excellent candidates for the job… they ended up hiring a candidate who they moved from the West Coast because,  they told us, “there are no real good managers in Texas”…(oh,brother)

Unfortunately, the poor new manager who moved here from California wasn’t given much time to turn the Dallas district around… he knew nothing about North Texas… didn’t even know where LBJ was and probably didn’t even know who LBJ was… companies don’t really know how treacherous it is to move a manager here, who has no idea about the area and expect results quickly… needless to say, it didn’t work out.

The regional director out of California was so “desperate” to find a good candidate this time, he not only used his own “network”  but  allowed us to refer a number of very qualified candidates…along with saying that he was so surprised that we could come up with such quality candidates who were not in his “network”… (duh!… I mean, we are here and he is in California… if we couldn’t come up with better candidates than he would know, being from California, we wouldn’t have survived since 1952…)

We found them an absolutely stellar candidate and… and this is important to know… since they had  made such a poor decisions over the last two years they decided that to make sure this was the “right”  candidate they would put him through a number of interviews… and this is where it gets so rather absurd.

Keep in mind this is a first level managers job… certainly an important job and one that would usually require one, two or maybe even three people to interview the candidate… but the past hires had been such debacles they decided they wanted to be “sure”… so after two interviews with the regional director they flew the candidate to the home office… he spent all day interviewing with CEO, the vice president of human resources, the vice president of services, the vice president of marketing, and another vice president of operations who even stated to the candidate that he didn’t know why he was interviewing a candidate, but since he was asked he would oblige… and, oh yeah there was another interview with another vice president whose role the candidate still isn’t quite sure of… at any rate, he went through eight hours of interviewing with six senior managers.

They all seem to think that the candidate is excellent so noooooooooooooooow they are going to send him to California next week for one last interview with another VP … all this for a first line managers job… crazy!

When companies make mistakes in hiring they do all kinds of things to protect themselves the next time around… this gross number of interviews for one candidate really isn’t going to make their decision any better… it’s absurd… but saying so isn’t going to change their approach… if you’re a candidate looking for a job you need to be aware that the people who are interviewing you… especially if they have made a number of mistakes… are going to do everything including a proctology exam to be sure they don’t make the mistake… it isn’t going to do any good to complain about this… it isn’t going to change… fortunately our candidate has been very understanding and is rather amused by the whole thing… he’s a good natured guy and is going to make them a hell of a manager.

Doubt, uncertainty and fear!

… a daily routine

I can’t tell you how important it is to maintain a daily routine… even a highly regimented schedule while looking for a job is best…there is so much doubt uncertainty and fear involved in looking for a job that a highly regimented schedule gives you the comfort of process.

If you’ve followed anything that I have ever written, you know that I want people to focus on the process of getting a job rather than just the result… focusing on the result of getting a job, by itself,  is too difficult to do… but focusing on the process of getting a job, that is, doing all the things they need to do to get a job, is much more controllable.

So, I recommend that, if you are out of work and able to look for a job full-time, which sometimes gives you a lot more focus than having to look for a job while you were keeping one, develop a strict daily route that you religiously follow… for instance, wake up every morning at exactly the same time, dress in business attire just as though you were going to a job and lay out a structured day.

www.thejobsearchsolution.com provides a very specific regimented daily plan that people can follow… for those who are looking for a job on a full-time basis and those that have a job.

A highly regimented schedule saves time for thinking and allows the job seeker to focus their energy on the most important aspect of the job search, getting and performing well on interviews… set aside the first two or three hours of the morning, when you don’t have interviews, to cold calling and sending resumes as well as following up those resumes with phone calls… try to schedule interviews at about the same time every day… a few weeks ago in this blog, I wrote about the best and worst times to interview as well as the best and worst places to interview… so try to avoid those.

Microsoft Outlook provides a great daily calendar and it’s very easy to use… it creates a situation where you don’t have to rely on your memory… this is a different discussion, but worrying about the things you need to remember uses up a tremendous amount of emotional and physical energy.

Over the past numbers of years various researchers have shown that making conscious decisions… any kind of conscious decision from “which shirt should I wear?” As well as “what should I eat?” tire your brain, much as a muscle fatigues from exercise. So keeping  a daily routine keeps you from having to make conscious decisions about trivial things tiring your brain out and depleting energy for the most important things getting and doing well on interviews… even having the same thing for breakfast every morning helps.

So, developed a very strict routine… save your emotional and mental energy for the most important things in your job search.

…”bridge” jobs

It’s not uncommon for candidates who are out of work to take “bridge” jobs… these are jobs that people take out of necessity, to earn quick money but they don’t plan to stay at them for very long.

I understand the need to eat, pay the mortgage or rent, car payment etc. but be aware that often times… very often these “bridge” jobs get in the way of finding a more professional, permanent job.

The problem I have with these kinds of jobs is that they actually get in the way of the candidate’s ability to interview… they get an interview, but can’t go because of their own bridge job… their attitude is “Tony, I have to be able to keep this job in order to pay the rent and an interview for me with having to take off work, would interfere with that”… okay, I get it but if you can’t make interviews you can’t get hired and most employers have so many candidates to choose from these days, rearranging an interview specifically for you isn’t likely to happen.

So, if you have to take a “bridge” job get one either for the first half of the day, the last half of the day or maybe waiting tables, bartending etc. in the evening so you have the daytime to be able to interview… getting a retail job during the day isn’t going to help you to get normal interview cycles… selling cars with its long hours, is going to get in the way of your interviewing.

I can’t tell you the number of candidates that I have seen over the years whose “bridge” jobs, that they took, thinking it was going to be for a very short period of time found themselves in these jobs for six or seven months and then they have the additional problem of trying to explain to a prospective employer why they take a job for six or seven months and are now looking for a more professional one… no matter what anyone says, a hiring authority is going to wonder about this.

When a candidate tries to explain that they took their present job as a “bridge” job and it has lasted for six or seven months, that they didn’t have any idea it was going to wind up having to last that long and they are  still serious about finding a more “professional” job, it just becomes another hurdle that they have to overcome with a prospective employer… and then to make matters worse, candidates will get frustrated and downright mad saying things like, “can’t they understand that a person has to have a source of income,” etc… bluntly it’s a no win argument.

So, take a “bridge” job if you must, but do it wisely realize the consequences.