How to Avoid Missed Opportunities in Job Hunting: The Pitfalls of Delaying Decisions
The Significance of “Time Kills Deals”
As a recruiter, I have witnessed time and time again how crucial the phrase “time kills deals” is often used to emphasize the importance of making timely decisions in business, yet people tend to believe it only applies to others. It emphasizes the importance of making timely decisions and not relying on verbal promises until an official offer is made.
This phrase is particularly relevant in the hiring process, where delays can cause candidates to lose interest or take other offers, and companies to miss out on top talent. In a fast-paced business environment, every day counts and waiting too long can be detrimental to both parties involved.
Waiting for a Promised Job Opportunity
I have helped my candidate secure several job interviews. However, the first company did not offer a strong enough opportunity, so she quickly dismissed it. The second company seemed very interested in her, but just three days after her interview, they informed us that the company was on a hiring freeze. The hiring authority asked if she could wait until May or June, with the promise that the requisitions would be open by then. I couldn’t help but laugh and asked,” which May or June do you think he has in mind?” It was only the beginning of March, and in my profession, three months might as well be a year. Waiting for that long means nothing and no candidate should be expected to do so in the normal world of business.
This left us with two good companies, both with good opportunities for her. She liked one of them a little better than the other, and both companies were now in their third week of interviewing her. However, it’s important to remember that time kills deals.
The company she liked the best informed her that she was their top choice and they were going to hire her. Meanwhile, her second choice, which was close to the first, told us they would get back to us in a day or two. However, last Monday came and went without any news from them.
I called the hiring authority of her first choice to explain the situation. Surprisingly, after three weeks of interviewing, he and his boss still needed to get corporate approval. On top of that, they were uncertain when they would receive approval, only being told “in a week or so.”
Her close, but second choice, called her today and offered her the job. She accepted and starts work in two weeks. This situation just proves that hiring can be messy and unpredictable, and it can never be accurately predicted, even when people assure you that you’re going to get the job.
Throughout this whole ordeal, my candidate handled the situation gracefully and never got too upset. She was understandably frustrated, but there was nothing she could do about it. If her first choice gets “approval,” they are going to have to start the interviewing process all over again.
The Unpredictability of the Hiring Process
Never put all your eggs in one basket and never believe someone when they tell you they’d like to hire you until they make an offer. These are two important lessons that my candidate and I learned during this hiring process. It can be frustrating and unpredictable, but it’s important to keep your options open and not rely on just one opportunity.
In the end, my candidate found a good job with the second company she liked, even though it wasn’t her first choice. It’s important to stay patient and be prepared for any outcome. You never know when a company may suddenly change their hiring plans or need to get corporate approval. By keeping multiple options open and not relying on just one opportunity, you can increase your chances of finding the right job for you.
Lessons from the Court: What “March Madness” Teaches Us About the Job Search/Interview Process
Lessons from FDU
I love basketball. Our son Brian played at LSU, went to the Sweet 16 his junior year and played 10 years professionally overseas. I know there is no such thing as reincarnation, but if I were ever to come back with the skills of a basketball player I’d be awed; that’s my appreciation of the sport.
Sports are fun with multiple metaphors for life and success.
Currently, in March Madness, we saw Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) that is ranked 16th seed in the bracket beat Purdue. Purdue is the number one seed in the bracket. It was a real feature, displaying determination and skill.
When FDU got into the game they played with absolute reckless abandonment. They acted like they didn’t really care whether they were going to win or not, they just went out and played like there was no tomorrow. They acted like they can absolutely care less what anyone thought, said or did…they just played as hard as they could. They dominated with their attitude. Purdue had a conference player of the year, 7’4″ guy who appeared to be so intimidated, he didn’t take a shot in the last three or four minutes of the game.
This was only the second time in the history of the NCAA tournament that a number 16 seed beat a number one seed. When it came down to it, FDU simply had a stronger belief then Purdue and then acted on it. Against most odds these kids simply executed on their belief. It was really nice to see their coach, in the locker room after the game, remind them that they need to accept this win with humility.
Winning attitude is everything.
It made me wonder, because I think about people getting interviewed and hired a lot, how many more of my candidates would get hired if they had the same kind of attitude as FDU had. An FDU winning attitude when going for a job interview can set you apart from other candidates. Some main attributes for a “March Madness – FDU” winning candidate attitude would include: preparation, adaptability, humbleness, and follow through. By demonstrating the qualities above, you can show your potential employer that you have what it takes to not only handle the challenges of the job, but also excel and contribute to the success of the organization. So, when preparing for your next job interview, consider channeling your inner March Madness champion and showcase the winning attitude that can make all the difference in landing your next job.
Why Flakiness is Your Worst Enemy in Job Interviews
Making a positive impression on the interviewer and avoid coming off as flaky is key. Being flaky can have negative consequences in various aspects of life, especially in job interviews.
Here are some reasons why being flaky is generally considered a negative trait:
Prepare in advance: Research the company and the position you’re applying for. This will show the interviewer that you are serious about the job and have done your homework.
Be punctual: Show up on time for the interview, or even a few minutes early. Being late is a sign of disrespect and can make you appear unreliable.
Dress appropriately: Dress professionally for the interview. This shows that you take the job seriously and are willing to make an effort.
Be confident: Confidence is key during an interview. Speak clearly and concisely, and be sure to answer the interviewer’s questions directly.
Be honest: Don’t exaggerate or lie about your skills or experience. This can backfire and make you appear flaky or untrustworthy.
Follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you note or email to the interviewer. This shows that you appreciate their time and are still interested in the job.
Below is a recent example of the effects of a flaky personality and the consequences on potential job prospects.
Our candidate has a great track record of performance, some real stability and, on the surface looked like to be an excellent candidate. And, fortunately, we had a wonderful long-term client who had been looking for someone with her background about three months. We scheduled a telephone interview with the hiring authority first.
Strike One: Lack Punctuality
She agreed to the telephone interview for 8 AM last Wednesday morning. The hiring authority called her cell phone number and got her voicemail at 8 AM. He called back at 8:05 AM…voicemail again. He then called back at 8:10 AM and she picked up. She apologized and said that she was taking the call while she was taking her kids to school and that at 8 AM she was driving through a school zone and couldn’t answer the phone. Keep in mind she knew about this interview two days before it took place and she’s the one that suggested the 8 AM time. When she told the hiring authority that she was in a car, having dropped off her kids, he was disappointed that she didn’t make the interview a higher priority.
The telephone interview didn’t last very long and they agreed to a video interview the next morning at 10 AM. When the next morning came along, the hiring authority had sent a video invite and candidate could not get her computer to work right. She could hear the hiring authority but she could not see him. Later, she could see him for a minute or two and then the video kicked off. This certainly wasn’t a good way to get things going. They had the interview but she suggested that they redo the video interview the next day and she assured our client that she would have her technology fixed then.
Strike Two: Not Prepared
The next day rolled around and, good news her technology worked and a video interview began both with audio and visual. Five minutes into the interview, according to the hiring authority, her cat walked across her PC while she was interviewing. According to the hiring authority, she immediately picked the cat out, apologized, put the cat down on the floor and then the cat jumped on her lap. She asked to be excused for moment so she could put the cat outside the room and shut the door. Okay, then the cat started whining and scratching the door and even though they had the interview, it was about as distracting as it gets.
Strike Three: Unreliable
In spite of this, the initial interview went well. The hiring authority wasn’t pleased with all of the missteps but he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and suggested that she go to the next step in the interviewing process. They arranged a time two days later for her to do a video interview with the hiring authorities’ boss. They all agreed to the time, etc. The time came in the interviewing authority initiated the video interview…and waited…and waited…and waited. Our candidate didn’t dial in. Of course the hiring authority was a little embarrassed, but called us and wanted to know what happened. Of course we called our candidate and she said, “oh, didn’t they get my email? Today was a school holiday and my kids were off school and their home. I wrote them earlier this morning and told them I wouldn’t be able to make the video interview.”
Well, neither the hiring authority nor his boss got the email and they were expecting the video. By this time this whole process with our candidate was getting really old. We had been doing this for a week and a half and still hadn’t gotten any reasonable traction beyond an initial interview. In the meantime, we had come up with two other really good candidates. Well, they really weren’t quite as good as our first candidate, but she had created such flakiness that our client just decided to move on.
I don’t have a problem if a candidate doesn’t get an opportunity because they don’t interview well or they’re not as good as other candidates, but when they lose an opportunity because they’re flaky or, at least, act flaky, it’s a real shame. It’s hard to even imagine that a candidate would even consider doing a telephone interview while they were taking their kids to school.
What’s even more absurd about this is that, when the candidate found out they were no longer going to consider her, she was furious. She yelled at me that if they were going to eliminate her for those reasons, they didn’t deserve her. Really sad!
Overall, being flaky can have many negative consequences, which is why it’s important to demonstrate reliability and follow through on commitments. This is especially important during job interviews, where flakiness can make a poor impression on potential employers.
Ego Check: How to Avoid Sabotaging Your Professional Reputation
It was a very niche sales profession that my candidate was in. Fortunately, I’ve been around long enough to know exactly where to go and who to call. I’d worked with this candidate about two years ago and he found the situation on his own. But I was still really lucky to get him this go-round.
There are only a few elite firms that can afford guys like this because making $1.5 million-$2 million is reasonable to do even your first year if you know what you’re doing. And this guy had been pretty successful before. So, I picked up the phone and began my quest.
It’s the kind of business that most principles will talk to any solid player and no make room for them if they have to. So, I decided to start at the top of the heap. I left a voicemail for one of the principles. I have to admit it was an excellent presentation.
He calls me back and after a minute or so of discussion, he starts laughing. He says, “you know,… I remember him….. I interviewed that guy twice a couple of years ago and he was supposed to call me back. He never did, not even to say that he had taken another job or that he wasn’t interested or… anything. I even called him and left two messages and never heard from him. We have an opening for a guy like him, so now you know what I’m looking for. But I’m not interested at all in speaking with him. If he treats clients the way he treated me, he won’t make it here in our company.”
I haven’t had a chance to speak to my candidate about this yet. But it will be interesting.
Never let your ego get bigger than your game.
People Go to Work for People, Not for Companies
It couldn’t be more simple than this. I had the good fortune of having an excellent candidate who I believe able to get four really great interviews with really good organizations. One of the firms said that they were really ecstatic about interviewing him, but couldn’t do it for eight days. One of the hiring managers has been looking for two months, thought the guy would be perfect but his “process” is to have his HR department talk to the candidate first. He said that he would have them get a hold of me and initially screen the candidate. That was a week ago and they still haven’t reached out to us. I called the hiring manager and left him a message that they had not reached out to us. He said he’d see what he could do.
One of the hiring authorities, after looking at the candidate’s resume said that he would call him right away even though he was on his way out of town. He did call the candidate right away and over the phone stating real good reasons why he ought to consider coming to work at the firm. Even though he wasn’t going to be available, he lined the candidate up with three people that he would have to interview with the encouraged those three people to really sell the company.
Even while the hiring authority was out of town, he called the candidate three times to see how the interviewing was going and expressed his interest in answering any questions that the candidate might have. My other clients moved at a snail’s pace in getting the candidate in the queue. Everyone admitted that he was a wonderful candidate and they could see hiring him, but their actions spoke so loudly I couldn’t hear what they said.
by the time to my clients were ready to interview my candidate for a 2nd round, the 1st company was making him an offer. The reason the candidate said he wanted to go to work for the 1st organization was because the guy that was trying to hire him was so attentive to getting him into the company. The hiring authority built a personal relationship with the candidate and made the company and himself really palatable.
People go to work for people. They don’t go to work for companies
How Recruiters Can Work for You
Types of Recruiters
Traditionally recruiters have been defined in two broad camps. The retained recruiter, who is just that, “retained,” to find an employee which was one group and the other was the “contingency group” that received their compensation only if they were responsible for causing a candidate to be hired. There is, however, a broad range of even contingency firms that you need to be aware of so that you can decide if they can actually help you find a job.
Understanding the various types of recruiters is important, so that you can seek out proper help.
What Recruiter Professionals Do for You
What you should expect and how you should deal with a “recruiter” totally depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you’re dealing with. When you know the kind of recruiter that you were dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.
In general, here is what recruiters can do for you:
- Provide access and knowledge of opportunities with the firm’s before they are “broadcast” to the world.
- For the most part, (we will see in the exceptions to this below) we have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his own.
- We will “coach” you and sell you and your attributes, as well as sell around your shortcomings, better than you can for yourself.
- Because a recruiter knows how you compare with your competition for positions, they can provide for you the advantage. They know their market.
- We will help you “manage” the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because a recruiter deals with this process daily, we know how to do it better than an individual even if they change jobs often.
- We are going to help a candidate maximize their compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives. It is in their best interest to help you reach your compensation potential.
- We can provide you more job interview opportunities quicker than you can do for yourself. Most people don’t deal with the job opportunities, career moves etc. on a daily basis. A recruiter does.
- The help of a recruiter implies most top professionals do not want their job search to be “floating around” the Internet or anywhere else for that matter.
- A recruiter, many times, has an intimate but objective view of the hiring company, the hiring authorities and the “politics” of the specific hiring process.
- We are comfortable with all of the steps in the process of getting hired.
- We know what to do when things “go wrong” in the hiring process.
Recruiters help job seekers by providing advice and connections to employers.
What this all means to you is simply this: a recruiter most likely can assist you with job placement but, it takes a team. Candidates need to manage their expectations of what a recruiter can do for them, and help the job search process. There are many types of recruiters and each one has their own specialties. You should be able to identify which type of recruiter is best for your particular situation, and then be proactive with the recruiter in the job search process.