Let’s spend a few moments on the subject of testing. This would include all kinds of psychological, aptitude, and intelligence tests. Since 1973, I have seen candidate testing ebb and flow in popularity. Believe it or not, it seems to ebb and flow depending on the economy. Testing of job candidates can become very expensive, so it is one of the first things that companies stop doing when the economy gets difficult.
Be prepared for what I call the paradox of testing. Every company that has ever used testing as a part of its selection process is going to tell every candidate that, at most, the testing only accounts for 25 percent of the final decision. Don’t believe a word of it! Whatever kind of test is used, from grapho-analysis to psychiatric interviewing, is a qualifier that you must pass with the minimum standard arbitrarily set by someone or some group in the organization, or you aren’t going to go further in the interviewing process. Whether hiring authorities or companies will admit it or not, the test becomes a binary, black-and-white, proceed-or-go-home qualifier.
So, when a hiring authority tells you something like, “Oh, by the way, we have some psychological (or aptitude, or skills, or intelligence) testing you need to do as a candidate, but don’t worry about it. Everybody who comes to work here has to take it and it doesn’t really account for much more than 10 percent (or 25 percent, or 50 percent) of the decision,” don’t believe a word of it! Testing becomes the gate that has to be passed through before you can be considered as a viable candidate.
Testing objectifies the hiring process. When, supposedly objective tests decide on your viability as a candidate, no hiring or interviewing authority involved in the process of hiring has to have their butt on the line, has to take a stand on your candidacy, or has to run the risk of being the only person who likes you and wants to hire you. Now, a hiring authority is still going to have to make a decision in choosing someone to be hired. But the convenient thing about testing is that it also functions as a cover-your-butt issue. If hiring you turns out to be a mistake, but you did well on the company’s battery of tests, the hiring authority can turn to everyone else and say, “Well, she did well on the testing!” It is just another way of passing the buck of responsibility. The tests become a qualifier, screening out tons of candidates so no one person has to, and it’s convenient and easy.
Please don’t tell me that testing is stupid and it doesn’t work. Part of my graduate studies—admittedly almost 50 years ago— included extensive studies about testing. I can make the case that testing will never measure passion, commitment, focus and, in general, “heart,” the real things that separate a top performer from an average one. But, as you know, the people who manage companies don’t really care what you or I think. If somebody sells a company on the idea that any kind of testing will help them hire better people and they invest thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars in their testing, they’re going to use it—no matter what.
Does the testing work? Well, it certainly creates an environment of homogeneous people. Being included or eliminated in the interviewing process by a testing procedure is just as valid or invalid as any of the other crazy reasons by which you may be included or eliminated. And it’s like the old joke of the guy that snaps his fingers to keep the pink elephants away. Since he keeps snapping his fingers and no one sees any pink elephants, this system works. If companies never hire anybody that doesn’t do well on whatever kind of testing they have, they never really know how valid it may be.
My gut— and it is only my gut—tells me that the companies that use any kind of testing don’t have any more or less success or turnover than companies that don’t. But, hey, what do I know? They ain’t asking me my opinion, and they don’t care. If they invest in testing, claim that it gets them better employees, and so on, then I guess it does. (I worked with a company five or six years ago that hired a CEO. They had a succession of three CEOs in three years—all miserable failures. They hired a candidate of mine, and after a couple of weeks on the job, they discovered that she hadn’t taken the company’s testing. They gave her the tests, and the tests indicated that she would not be successful. Well, they certainly couldn’t let her go over that, so, as with a lot of stuff that goes on in businesses, nobody said a word and just let it be. She was not only one of the most successful CEOs the company ever had, but grew the company 115 percent in four years. When the company was sold, she, as well as the major stockholders, made millions of dollars. The company is now a division of a major corporation and, guess what—they still use the testing to qualified candidates before they hire them. Go figure!
How to Take Tests
First, whatever you do, don’t bitch and moan to the prospective employer that testing is a lot of nonsense. In some cases, it very well is, but if a prospective employer does it as a routine part of the selection process, your opinion isn’t going to matter. If you voice your negative opinion too much, you’ll be eliminated for that reason alone. So, just decide to take the test in stride and resolve to do the very best you can. And, don’t say something stupid like, “Oh, my God, I’m absolutely awful when it comes to tests.” This may be true, but for goodness sake, don’t tell that to a prospective employer.
Second, before you go to take the test, get lots of rest, eat a good meal, and relax. Do the very best you can. Look at it as a challenge. Take it in stride. Trying to prepare for it is hard. Do not be over analytical and agonize over each answer, nor be flippant about the answers that you give.
While not as prevalent as they used to be, there are still some companies out there that test candidates with a face-to-face interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist. If this kind of thing is involved in your interviewing process, approach it the same way as you would approach a paper-and-pencil or computerized test. Be thoughtful of your answers. Be consistent in your answers and, for goodness sake, don’t try to read into every question what the interviewer is trying to get at. That’s a losing proposition. Don’t become belligerent, challenging, or argumentative with the interviewer.
No matter what you do, no matter what kind of test you’re given, whether it be multiple interviews with the psychologist or psychiatrist, written essays, multiple-choice intelligence, character, or personality, do not try to outguess the test! Don’t sit there and ask yourself what they are trying to find out when they ask that question? Because if they’re trying to find out “that,” then I will answer “this” so that they will think “that” of me, you will be finished! You can’t outguess them.
If you are going to be given a computerized test, psychological test, and the like, you might want to go online and practice with tests that you can buy for yourself. Tons of intelligence and psychological types of tests are available on the Internet for very reasonable prices. Some even give feedback and corrective advice. Studies have shown that practicing these kinds of tests make you better. You’re not likely to be able to do this with psychological or personality tests, but you certainly can with math or intelligence tests. So, practice when possible.
Want to know why some people really get ahead in life and many people don’t? Well here’s an example.
Kyle has been a very successful aeronautical engineer who made it in sales a number of years ago and has made a whole lot of money. He has had to change jobs for some very good reasons and it’s clear that he has been successful in just about every place that he’s ever been.
I call one of my clients Thursday morning and she says, “Well, the best I could do would be to be able to see him this afternoon right after lunch, because I’m absolutely covered up for later today and all of tomorrow.” I called Kyle and he says, “I’ll make it happen.”
Now the vast majority of candidates that I work with would have given me all kinds of excuses as to why they couldn’t make a 1 PM interview when I called them at 9:30 AM. “You just can’t expect somebody to be able to make an interview that fast… Besides I’m really busy… Tell me all about it first and then I’ll decide if I want to go… Blah, blah, blah.” Kyle didn’t even ask much about the job or the opportunity. He just said that he would figure out a way to get there.
One PM passes and at about 1:30 PM my client calls and says, “Kyle isn’t here… What’s up?” I called Kyle and it goes to voicemail. It doesn’t seem to be like him, but I call my client and explain to her that I’m at a loss. About 2:45 PM, the client calls and says, “Well, he made it for only about a half-hour, but get this. He was in a car wreck and had his son come pick him up and get him here for the interview. He was a half-hour late, but he made it. He left his cell phone in his car and that’s why you couldn’t reach him. He’s now going back to his car to get a tow truck and get the car off to get it fixed. I want to hire this guy. In all the years that I’ve interviewed, I’ve never had anyone that committed to showing up to an interview. He made no dramatic excuses. He didn’t whine and moan, he just stated that he had unfortunately been in the car wreck but he made it! His track record is stellar, and I can see why”
I don’t know if I ever remember a candidate going the extra mile like that. Most of the time I would’ve gotten a call from the candidate (sometimes in a whiny voice) saying, “I can’t make it to the interview because I was just in a car wreck (woe is me!)”
Kyle makes a whole lot of money and has for most of his career. I mean, lots of money. He’s extremely successful and will continue to be.
It’s pretty clear why. I’ve gotten him to other interviews and everybody else has felt exactly the same way.
I go through this conversation at least once a day with everyone from a two-year experienced candidate to a 30 year experienced candidate and the conversation goes something like this:
“I just can’t believe it… I’ve been looking now for four weeks (… five weeks… three months… six months… one year) and I can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’ve rewritten my resume at least five times. I finally paid somebody $1500 to rewrite it and to give me some ‘coaching’ because they said they knew where the so-called, hidden market was… I just can’t believe it. I’ve only had two or three interviews and one or two of them blew me off pretty much immediately. I’ve called just about every friend I have at least once… ex-bosses… people who told me that I wouldn’t have any problem finding a job, but of course, they didn’t have any openings or didn’t know of any openings. I just must be doing something wrong. My spouse (… girlfriend, boyfriend, ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, mother, father, cousin, rabbi, priest, pastor… all tell me that I’m a wonderful person. But I’m beginning to doubt how wonderful I am. And all those years of working my tail off and being told what a wonderful asset I was… What’s wrong with me… What am I doing wrong?”
Well, the fact is you are probably not doing anything terribly wrong (I’ll get to that in a minute). Just because you’re reading and hearing that unemployment is low, the market is still very tight. For every one of you, every employer is able to interview five or six people… if you can get the interview at all. It is still very hard to get interviews, no matter how good you are.
All those people who tell you how wonderful you were for all those years needed to do that so you could keep working for them and, you probably were doing a wonderful job. But getting a job and doing a job are two different things. And just because you had a wonderful, fantastic career full of accolades and praises doesn’t mean that lots of people are going to want to interview you and hire you.
Getting to the interview is the biggest problem that most people have. If you follow everything that I’ve written in my books and this blog and my online Job Search Solution program you know that the biggest challenge is even getting an interview. It’s not as easy as everybody always thinks it is. They think that all they have to do is stand up and say “Hey world… Here I am… When do you want to interview me?” And when that doesn’t happen over an even relatively short period of time, whether you’re still employed or out of work, you become convinced that they just don’t know a good athlete when they see one. You become convinced that it’s them that are just plain foolish for not responding to your resume (… just one of the 160 others that they’ve received).
Most people aren’t aware of how much work a person has to do to simply get an interview. They’ve been comparing themselves to their peers and these people know they are a fantastic worker. But that has nothing to do with getting interviews and performing well on those interviews. They get shocked that the process is so difficult and challenging. Then when the reality hits them, they have no idea what they’re doing “wrong.”
They just simply weren’t prepared for how hard it is.
Start a prayer /intentions list
As you can probably tell I’m a real big fan of praying. I don’t just believe that it works. I absolutely know it works. But on this particular issue of having a prayer or intentions list you don’t have to believe in prayer to make it work. The purpose of this is for you to pray for or pass along positive intentions to specific people. It is a form of giving. After all, you are a person who wants to receive; so in order to receive, you are going to have to give and this is one of the ways of doing it. It is great to begin this list with people whom you care for, maybe close members of your family or friends. However, it is also a great value to pray for or pass along good intentions to people you don’t know. You might even want to put people on this list that you perceive as your “enemies.” Even praying for people who society deems as “evil” reaps a positive benefit for you. So, start a list today. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have this prayer list posted at home so the whole family can see. Encouraging them to add people’s names to the list merely increases the positive return. It is a great habit for everyone to get into, and it is easy.
I don’t claim to be an authority on prayer, although I do it a lot. Regarding changing jobs, there are two things about prayer I might enlighten you about; and then you can take it from there. First of all, I’m reminded about the story of the fellow that prayed every night to win the lottery. He got down on his knees and every night he asked God to help him win the lottery. This went on for a number of months and every night he got on his knees and said, “Dear God, please, please, please, let me win the lottery! I deserve to win the lottery… please, please, let me win the lottery!” After a number of months, his plea became even more passionate. Finally, one night when he is reciting his prayer, a roll of thunder came out of the sky and a booming voice said “You first have to buy a ticket!” The point of the story is that simple praying without doing all the necessary things that it takes to get a job isn’t going to help your prayers be successful. Without massive amounts of activity, the kind that I am recommending in this course – all the prayer in the world isn’t going to help you.
Prayer: Without action is useless – (with apologies) St. Paul
The second thing about prayer that I find essential and successful is to pray for guidance in the process, not necessarily for a specific outcome. Praying specifically for a good job or a certain job doesn’t seem to be as effective as praying for spiritual guidance and help in the process of finding a job. There is a slight difference in praying for the process as opposed to praying for a result. If praying for a result, say a particular job, and the job does not come about for one reason or another it’s too easy to believe that prayer failed. Contrarily, if you pray for help and guidance in the process of finding a job, the effects seem to be more real.
God grant me the serenity to except the things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
…Thy will be done
If you are not a practice meditator… start. Along with prayer, but different, it’s one of the most mystical things you can do. Unfortunately, it takes a very short time to learn meditation, but a very long time to really experience its effects. Having said that, most people will get a lot out of meditation in the very beginning.
I’ve been meditating since the early 70’s… every day. It calms the emotions, focuses the mind, and alleviates tension and simply balances just about everything mental, emotional and spiritual. Its greatest value in a job search is that it helps center all of the challenges one experiences.
The long-term value of meditation is that it quiets the ego. And when you come down to it, one of the most foundational aspects of looking for a job is dealing with the highs and lows that the ego experiences.
This is a tremendous way to get “out of yourself” and really help other people. Now, I’m not recommending that you volunteer while you should be interviewing. However, there are plenty of opportunities in the evening or on weekends to volunteer. There are hundreds of volunteer organizations that help people who really need assistance. You need to be doing this. Help people who cannot help themselves. Find any kind a volunteer organization that might take advantage of your skills and volunteer. This is a form of giving and asking nothing in return: serve food at the soup kitchens, build homes for Habitat for Humanity, visit old people in hospitals, children in hospitals, etc. If you’re not a joiner or can’t fit volunteering into your schedule, you (just yourself) can organize to do things like pick up trash on the street, clean up your alley, or mow and trim the lawn of an old person in your neighborhood.
Your life is going to be stressful enough just looking for a job. As I mentioned in one of the previous chapters, I would recommend staying away from newspapers (other than to look at the classified ads), negative people, violent movies, television for the most part, etc. I recommended in a previous session to seek solitude and quiet especially in the morning; but throughout the day doesn’t hurt, either. Seeking peace and solitude also allows you to really focus intensely on all the activities it takes to find a job.
“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light,
and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.”
You know all that stuff that you cleaned out – Your trash, attic, closet, office, car, etc? Well, give it all away! In fact, anything you can give away to someone who probably needs it more than you is a way to build spiritual credit. Streamline your life and give away what you don’t need. Learning to give anonymously is truly a great experience. The “feel-good” you get in giving even a modest gift, without anyone knowing who you are, is tremendously gratifying. I personally have $5 gift certificates to one of the fast food chains in the console of my car. When a street person at an intersection asks me for a hand out when I have stopped, I will give them a $5 gift certificate. It is a really good feeling and it only cost $5. It’s also very instructive to my children.
….more next week
In my experience people do a number of things while looking for a job that have reinforced the spiritual side of their brain. In fact, these activities and practices help them find a job with less emotional stress than most other people. There are all kinds of additional things that a person can do, but here are some very important ones.
I mentioned in the previous chapter about waking up every morning with an attitude of gratitude. I hear you say, “But Tony, you don’t know the troubles that I’ve got.” You are right. I don’t. However, just as Norman Vincent Peale stated many, many years ago, “The only people that don’t have problems are dead.” Be grateful. Just try it. You may think I’m crazy, but it works! Even if you have to try to convince yourself over and over and over to be grateful, do it! Fake it if you have to! Affirmations like “thank you”, “I really appreciate the situation that I’m in”, “ I have so much to be thankful for; I’m so blessed,” feed the spirit.
Sometimes it is really hard to be nice to people, especially when are you in stressful situations. Even when you are emotionally hurting, it helps to go out of your way to be really nice to people when you don’t necessarily feel that way. I’ve known hundreds of employers over the years that purposely kept candidates waiting in the reception area just to see if they were going to be nice to the administrative personnel (what we used to call the secretary). I can’t tell you the number of candidates over the years that did not get hired because they were rude to the support people in the organization where they were interviewing. These same people turn on the charm and come across as nice as you can imagine in the interviewing process. However, they lost out because they were not nice when they didn’t have to be. So, it may not necessarily be your nature to be an outgoing nice person, but do it anyway.
Get rid of the clutter in your house, your garage, your office, your closet, your car, in any space that you occupy. Get rid of all those old clothes in your closet that you hope to fit into one day. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last year give it away. Create open space in your life and where you live. You will be amazed at the energy that will be released by getting rid of clutter
There are a few things that are as spiritually uplifting as forgiving. First, forgive yourself for all the stupid things you have done to yourself and others. Make a small list, it won’t be hard…then accept and let go. Contemplate the lessons you learned. Then begin to forgive other people who might have transgressed you. So make a list of all the people that you can remember whom you have transgressed. Even if the transgression was an accident, call, write, or email those people and ask them for forgiveness. At the same time make a list of all the people that may have transgressed you. Call them, write them, or email them and forgive them. Don’t expect a return call or letter or email. That’s not the point. Your spiritual growth depends on your ability to forgive others and seek forgiveness.
This is especially true if you’re a job seeker. Forgive all those people that you feel haven’t treated you well. Make a list of all of the people who told you they were going to call you back and then didn’t, those who even said they were going to hire you and didn’t or those that lied to you about other stuff. Then, forgive them all. You may not understand all of the problems that they even created for themselves, but you can’t do anything about that. Forgive them.
Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet left on the heel that crushed it.
….more next week
Wednesday, September 11- 10:30am
Charles (the hiring manager of a $300 million software firm): “Well Tony, we’re finally ready to hire Melinda. I finally got the okay from the HR department. The director of HR has been in a conference for the past four days and he finally got around to approving everything. I’ve been meaning to call Melinda for the past few days just to let her know what’s going on but I’ve just been so busy with travel and the end of the quarter coming up at the end of the month. But I wanted to call you and tell you that I’m going to call her now and offer her the job.”
Tony: “Oh Charles, Melinda called me yesterday and told me that she was expecting an offer from one of your direct competitors. I’m not sure who it is but I know that they interviewed her on Monday (the 9th) and when she told him she was speaking to you all for the past four weeks, they got all excited. After speaking to you all, she got pretty excited about the technology and found out one of the people she used to work for works at the company and she called them up. They have an opening available at the beginning of the quarter and so they interviewed her really quickly. She told them that you all were probably going to make an offer and so they moved really quickly.”
Charles: “Well, you know that they aren’t anywhere near as good as we are. I’ll call her and I’ll be sure that she comes to work here!”
Tony: “Well Charles, she seemed really put off by the fact that we have taken so long. We’ve been interviewing her for four weeks now, so I know she was getting real anxious.”
Charles: “I can’t help it that my boss was in Europe on vacation and our process is that he had to speak with her and then the procurement department took two weeks to get you on the vendor program, so that we could pay you. I can only move so fast!”
Tony: “Well, I understand but I think I mentioned to you that candidates these days are moving really, really, really fast and I have to assume that if I get a candidate one offer I can get them a second one and they can get one or two on their own… It’s as bad as 1990. Some of our clients aren’t even looking for resumes; they are simply reviewing candidates’ profiles on LinkedIn and then interviewing them. They are also cutting their ‘process’ down to two or three interviews at most and then making the move.”
Charles: “I know, I know, but I rely on you to keep these candidates warm!”
Tony: “Charles, I wish I was that good. Melinda’s company is failing, her payroll check was late two weeks ago… as I explained to you… and she was motivated to get a new job. I got her three interviews and she got three interviews on her own. I can’t keep anybody ‘warm’ as you say. They are going to move as fast as they can. But look, just give her a call and see what you can do. Make her the best offer that you can and give her good reasons why she ought to go to work there. It’s been a while since you’ve spoken to her.”
Wednesday, September 11 – 2:30 PM
Charles calls Tony: “Dammit. She thanked me for my time and effort, but told me that she had conditionally accepted the verbal offer from our competitor and was waiting for the paperwork that she should get tomorrow. Dammit! When my boss finds out she went to work for the competitor he’s going to really be pissed. I asked her if there was anything we could do to salvage the situation. She said she might consider the opportunity for a $15,000 increase in base and $10,000 signing bonus. That’s absurd! We can’t do that…”
Tony: “I understand, but that is the market. I don’t know what her other offer is because I haven’t yet spoken to her. She didn’t even tell me that she was speaking to your competitor until yesterday. But you can’t really blame her. She needs to go to work.”
Tony: “There was a second candidate that you spoke with, John, who is probably just as strong.”
Charles: “But my boss really wanted a hire a woman and so I never recommended John after my interview with him. But my year-end bonus depends on me having someone in that territory during the fourth quarter…”
Tony: “Well, Charles, I sent you four or five excellent saleswomen and you didn’t want to interview them….”
Charles “Well, they just weren’t qualified…”
Tony: “Well, for what you all are paying that’s what the market bears…and it’s almost impossible to tell how qualified a candidate is without interviewing them face-to-face. Melinda did not fit your specifications either.”
Charles: “You told me that, but I thought it was just recruiter – speak. Why don’t we get John on the phone again?”
Tony: “Let me call him”.
Thursday, September 12 – 4:30 PM
Tony calls Charles: “Well, I finally reached John and it looks like his boss is leaving and he thinks he might get a promotion into the job so he’s going to stay where he is at least till the end of the year.”
Charles: “Dammit! I guess I should’ve interviewed all of those people that you recommended.”
Tony: “Well, it really wasn’t all that many. Just four. But this market is crazy…”
Charles: “I’ve never had this kind of problem before.”
Tony: “Well, this market hasn’t been this difficult in 10 years. We are telling our clients to interview four or five people just to be sure that they have backup candidates. But that doesn’t mean that those backup candidates aren’t finding jobs.”
Charles: “Well, I’ve got to be out of town over the next two days. Call me on Monday and tell me who you might have so that I can interview over the phone.”
Monday, September 16th – 10 A.M.
Tony phones Charles: “Well, I’ve got four candidates for you. When can you interview?”
Charles: “Well. let me look at the resumes first then pass them through our HR department.”
Tony: “Charles, we should line them up for this Wednesday because they were very hard to find and recruit. I spoke to almost 15 candidates in the past two days just to get these.”
Charles: “Well, you know how careful my boss and my company are. They better meet the standards.”
Tony: “Charles, all I can show you is what’s available on the market… I can’t do anything about what the market will bear. Your base is about $10,000 lower than others are paying. Remember what happened with Melinda…”
Charles: “Okay, okay, line them up for Wednesday.”
Charles emails on Wednesday morning: “An emergency has come up and I won’t be able to interview the candidates. Can we line them up for Friday?”
Tony emails back: “Well I guess!”
Friday, September 20th – 9A.M.
Charles emails Tony, “I can only interview two of these people today, because something has come up.”
Tony emails Charles: “Okay I’ll get the one for 2 PM and the one for 3 PM and move the rest to Monday. Okay?”
Friday, September 20 – 5 PM
Tony calls Charles and leaves a message. Both candidates spoke to Charles and both of them felt like their interview went well.
Monday, September 23 – 3 PM
After calling Charles for most of the day, Tony finally reaches him: “What did you think of the candidates?”
Charles: “Well, I guess, okay. Nobody really wowed me. When can we speak to the other two. I really can’t do it until Wednesday or Thursday.”
Tony: “Well, one of the ones you spoke with said she was close to another offer. Let me see if I can get the other two for Wednesday or Thursday.”
Neither candidate can make it on Wednesday so Tony arranges for Charles to speak to both of them on Thursday, one at 1 PM and another one at 2 PM.
Friday, September 27 – 10 AM
Tony calls Charles: “Well, how did it go? Both candidates really liked what they heard. What did you think?”
Charles: “Well, I don’t think any of them are as good as Melinda is.”
Tony: “That might have something to do with the mere fact that Melinda got away.”
Charles: “Dammit! My boss was on my butt today about how we hadn’t got this thing filled. We were supposed to have someone there in the middle of July. My HR department… the recruiters… only came up with two candidates in six weeks and one of my old bosses suggested that I call you. My HR department pitched a real fit because we’ve got all of these internal recruiters and we are still having to pay a fee. I should’ve called you in July…”
Tony: “Well, we hear that day in and day out especially in today’s market. You still have two months’ worth of quota that you have lost. I’m quite confident if we just started this in the beginning of July we could have done it by that month’s end. You would have well recovered your company’s $22,000 investment.”
“I interview two to three candidates a day, face-to-face. (and have for 46 years.) Our average recruiter here in our organization…and there are 20 of us in different departments…has been doing this for 16 years. And they see the same number of candidates I do daily. There’s no way an internal recruiting department, whose average age is 22 or 23 years old could come up with the numbers or the quality of candidates I can find. The idea that internal recruiters actually ‘save money’ is a fallacy. But that is neither here nor there. We need to get on with helping you.”
Charles: “I’m probably going to miss my number this quarter because I spent so much time screwing around with recruiting. Pick the four best candidates you’ve got and I will come into town next Thursday and interview them.”
Tony: “Charles, if I can come up with six good candidates you should interview all six of them, because the same candidate you want everyone else wants too.”
Charles: “Okay, I’ll call you Monday and tell you where I’m staying and I will come to your office and meet all of your candidates…… I wish I would’ve done this in July.”
Charles says he’s going to be here on Wednesday. We hope he can make it. That will be October 2. Charles needed to find someone in July…the beginning of July. So, he is three months behind. Maybe hiring isn’t as much of a priority as he says it is!
If you’re a manager in today’s market, please pay attention. Last week one of our candidates received an offer from our client. It was a sales position and the job he was leaving had a base of $85,000 plus commission and he had earned in the $150,000 range. Our client’s base salary was only $65,000 and the hiring manager told the candidate that she would have to go to the “higher-ups” to get him more of a guarantee. It took her two weeks to get the management to agree to a $65,000 base plus a $20,000 non-recoverable draw. By the time she got around to offering him the job he had two other offers from similar companies. One offer was for a solid $85,000 base plus commission and the other offer was for a $90,000 base plus a $2,500 monthly non recoverable draw for six months. He took the latter job. It took that company (not our client) three days to hire him. They interviewed him on Tuesday and hired him on Thursday.
In another situation our client company had a “process” that they invented four years ago for hiring candidates. The candidate would have to go through three interviews with three different people and one group interview. It took almost two weeks to get to the group interview and by then the candidate already had two other offers from companies that showed him they really wanted him by pursuing him aggressively and selling him on the job (fortunately one of these was our client). He accepted our second client’s offer and never went to the group interview.
The “group interview” company’s hiring manager is mad at me for not getting the candidate to hold off and then go to the “group interview.” Bluntly, he had egg on his face because he had to cancel the meeting with the group and it didn’t look like he was in control.
In another situation, one of our clients interviewed a candidate who explained to them that she was expecting an offer within the next week. They explained to her that their process takes at least three weeks and they could not move that fast. They asked her if she could postpone making a decision until they had a chance to go through their process and were shocked when she told them that she really needed to go to work and that if the company she expected an offer from came up with a good one, she had no choice but to take it.
Here’s the point: the market for good candidates is a lot different than it was even two years ago. When you see a good candidate you need to hire a person as soon as possible. The “process” you developed three or four years ago to protect yourself from “hiring the wrong candidate” just isn’t going to work. Good companies are recognizing that they need to make the hiring process quick and efficient.
“But Tony, I know it’s a good job and I really like the people and it looks like they are really going places and I like everything about it…but these guys I’m working for now told me the same thing. They told me they were going to grow. I trusted the guy who hired me and even took a $10,000 cut in salary in order to go to work there. I loved everything about it until the guy who hired me left and told me all kinds of things that were really going on in the company. The president of the company micromanages, nobody likes working there and all and I’ve only been there for 14 months. I screwed up a really good career at the company I was with before… I just plain don’t want to make another mistake. I just don’t know,… I’m just not sure… I just don’t want to make another mistake.”
I personally hear almost exactly this same script at least three or four times a month. It doesn’t take much explaining to understand what has happened here. The candidate makes a perfectly legitimate mistake in taking a job. It winds up being a disaster and he is so worried about making another mistake that they don’t see the possibility or the opportunity that might be in front of them. They are so worried about making a mistake that they see the glass as half empty instead of half full. This is a terrible way to make a decision and it causes nothing but pain and angst.
In this particular case, which made matters worse, this is the second job in a row that the candidate could say exactly the same thing about. He made two relative errors in a row. So now he is really spooked. Objectively, even he knows that we are not going to find a better opportunity than the offer he is getting. But he has been “burned”…or burned himself two times in a row and he is just plain afraid of making a decision.
Here is the truth. Every job that a person takes, he or she runs the risk of it not working out. There are a phenomenal number of twists and turns that happen in every business in every company. The boss that made promises that could be overturned or were outright lies, the territory that totally changed once the candidate showed up for work, the poor economic condition that the company was in that nobody told the candidate about before they took the job… and just about any other wacky thing you can imagine that can take place after the candidate shows up for work or is even there for a while, can happen.
The vast majority of time, there is absolutely nothing a candidate can do about it. Think about it, all of us would be phenomenally successful in just everything we did if we knew then what we know now. But the world doesn’t work that way. No one can make a decision about a present job offer relative to the last one or two mistakes the person might have made.
In 90% of these cases there is absolutely no way any job candidate could have known what was going to happen after they took the job. Everyone has to make decisions based on what they see right in front of them the moment they get a job offer… the good, the bad, and the ugly. Things change rapidly. In the present situation that I described above, there was no way in the world that the candidate would have ever known that the guy that hired him in his present job was going to leave. In fact, the guy that hired him stayed with the company for 14 months after our candidate was hired. Once his boss left and the president started running the company out of the East Coast, the whole thing turned to poop. There was no way he would know that was going to happen.
Every time a person takes a job, they run a risk. I will admit that my candidate got unlucky two times in a row. It’s unfortunate, but that kind of thing happens. It’s the risk that we all take in changing jobs. But to judge any new opportunity with the mantra of, “I don’t want to make a mistake like the last time,” it is unlikely that the candidate will ever make a decent decision.
I try to explain to people all of the time that every job opportunity has a risk. A person has to hope that it works out. A person can’t afford to evaluate every job with the idea that, “I don’t want to make a mistake.” If the opportunity turns out to be a mistake, then the candidate is going to have to deal with it.
Here is the rule of thumb. If the job is within 80% of what the candidate would ideally like, it is probably about as good as one is going to get. After that, it’s a plain old gut feel. Ninety five percent of satisfaction in a job is what we make it. Success and satisfaction in work come mostly from the inside, not the outside. The job doesn’t make us…we make the job.
So, make an assessment of a job offer based on everything you know about the opportunity as it is presented to you. Realize that it could change and it might be different than what you expect. But whatever you do, don’t try to evaluate an opportunity based on what happened the last time or the time before that or even the time before that. Whatever happened in the past is not a precursor about what’s going to happen in the future.
In the past month, two situations have arisen in which “praising the Lord” stood in the way of a very good candidate and a very good company and a very good opportunity. They were both two separate situations. Most of us who are “aspiring” Christians know that people are going to judge our true beliefs by how we act and what we do more than by what we say. But in interviewing and hiring situation the encounters/interviews..on average about four hours…can be misconstrued or misunderstood.
In the first instance, a candidate had on the bottom of his signature line of his email a website address that took the reader to his personal blog. He is an excellent candidate. He has great technical skills and the ability to communicate those tactical skills in a sales environment which is substantiated by an excellent track record.
While he was interviewing at our client, he wrote a thank you email to the vice president of the small firm after he had interviewed. There are only about 100 people in his company and most of them are millennial’s. The admin to the VP received a copy of the thank you email and “followed” the link to the candidates personal blog. Unfortunately, the candidate’s personal blog, not only made it very clear that he was a devout Christian, but insisted that anyone that didn’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior was definitely going to burn in hell.
The admin to the VP sent the link to just about everybody she knew in the company, along with a comment asking them if they wanted to have someone in their midst that was going to “be a Bible beater and try to convert them to the following the Lord.”
There is absolutely no doubt that the candidates personal blog was almost insulting to people that didn’t feel earth think the same way he did. A number of people in the company went to the president of the firm, copies of the personal testimony of the candidate in hand and communicated in a very strong words that they did not under any circumstances, want someone in their organization who is going to try to convert everybody to Christianity.
After reading the blog, although it was strongly condemning people who didn’t feel the same way, it never communicated anything related to trying to convert anyone else. Now, it is relatively strong language when a person is absolutely certain that nonbelievers are going to burn in hell, but it doesn’t mean that that person is going to try to convert everyone.
The president of the company decided that he had enough problems and that he didn’t need to hire someone who might cause all kinds of controversy in the company. He just plain didn’t want to run that risk. So, he instructed the VP not to hire the candidate.
We suggested to the VP that he check the candidate’s previous employment references to see if he tried to “convert” people he had worked with before. We even went so far as to check with one of the candidate’s previous managers to find out that the candidate never tried to convert anybody to anything. The president, however, wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He had enough problems and wasn’t going to run any kind of risk. They are not going to hire the candidate, and that’s it!
The other instance was on the other side of the desk. At least our client company was open with our candidate they were interviewing that the whole company prayed every morning as part of their daily ritual. They warned the candidate that if she is not comfortable with that, she should consider going to work there. The candidate really liked the job and wanted to work there but was worried about, as she told us, “being forced to pray when I don’t believe in it.” She called one of the people at the company whom she had interviewed with to get an idea about the situation. Unfortunately, the person she spoke with was, as she said very confidentially, pretty cynical about the whole prayer idea, because she told our candidate that the company didn’t act the way they appeared to be. So, the candidate turned the job down.
The moral to all of this is that we are all struggling whether we are believers or not. In the first case, being judgmental, especially about people burning in hell is rather drastic and, if that’s all you know about someone, I can see why some of the employees of the client company were up in arms. In the second case, at least one person in the company didn’t feel like the organization was practicing what it preached.
The lesson in all of this is that people are going to recognize as more by our actions then they are by our words. There is no reason to run the risk of losing a good job opportunity because of a blog post. A private company certainly has a right to pray before every day but, as you can see it may not come across the right way to some people. And, maybe organizations like that don’t care.
But we all might be better off if we let how we treat people speak for our Convictions.