Category Archives: career development

…. being “overqualified”

John is been out of work for nine months. He just plain can’t understand why the whole world has not beaten down his door to hire him. For 12 years his company was telling him how wonderful he was, they were promoting him and giving him all kinds of plaques, raises and honors because he was such a great employee. His company was sold. His job was redundant and so they laid him off. Nice severance, they still laid him off.

As with many people who have even reasonable, if not, stellar careers, John thought all he would have to do is let the world know that he was available to be hired and it would stop spinning until he found a new job. Well, it doesn’t work that way.

John has found that there are very few jobs for an executive vice president. Companies rarely hire those kind of people “off the street.” 99% of the time a job like this is obtained just the way John attained it, by performing and getting promoted.

John went through all of his contacts and competitors only to hear that he was “overqualified”for the opportunities that they had available. They just didn’t need an executive vice president. He did have three interviews in that nine months…even for positions close to the level that he was. He was competing with nine other candidates in one instance, seven others in another instance and didn’t even ask how many others in the third opportunity. Unfortunately, he never got beyond the first interview with any of the companies. In two instances the people who interviewed him were kind enough to explain to him that the reason he didn’t get hired had nothing to do with anything he did or didn’t do, it was simply that there were other candidates they felt were better suited for the job.

John was at wits end and didn’t know what to do. One answer is pretty simple. Dumb down your resume and seek opportunities that are one or two steps below where you’ve been. Set your ego aside and forget the idea that “I’m so good, there has got to be at least one opportunity out there that I can get,” and go after just about any job you can find within reason.

We recommended that to John as well as explaining to him that when he interviews he has to sell himself differently than normal candidates. He has to be able to say to individuals he is interviewing with something along the line of:

“I realize that I have attained positions that are higher than this one I am interviewing for.             But I have found that if I like the job I’m doing and I like the people that I’m doing it with               and I’m being fairly compensated the future will take care of itself because I am a                           performer. (Whatever position he is applying for he needs to explain). I’ve been in the                    shoes of this position before and I have performed very well. I know if I perform well, I                   don’t have to worry about where it’s going to take me. Level of job that I’ve had before is             one that people mostly grow into. If the opportunity is there, I may very well be able to do           that, but now, I do need a job and even though I might appear to be overqualified                           I can do an excellent job for you and you are the kind of company that I would like to go to           work for.”

John can elaborate on this type of conversation. That is the essence of what he needs to say as well as saying it with believable humilityIf John, however, says this with any kind of false pride or insincerity he won’t get hired. Anything along the line of, “well, I guess I’d take this job if I was offered it since I can’t find anything else, but geewhiz I worked so hard to become an executive VP it is hard to imagine that there’s not a job out there like that for me…” he will shoot himself in the foot and he might as well not have even showed up for the interview.

Now, the biggest issue that’s running through an employer’s head is this, “if I hire this guy and he gets a call two months from now from someone who is looking for an executive VP, he’s going to leave.”

Before the prospective employer voices this concern…and he or she will, John has to say something along this line:

“I’m sure you might be wondering about the possibility of someone that I have                                 apply to in the past calling me sometime in the future and offering the chance to                           speak with them about an executive VP level job. The truth is that people…and                               especially myself… If they are happy at what they’re doing, like the people and the                        company they work for And are being compensated fairly, don’t just go off                                      and interview for another position. Interviewing and looking for a job is a very painful                   and emotionally difficult thing to do. Look at my track record, I’ve stayed at  every                           company I have worked with for XXXXX number of years. I just don’t interview                                 or leave companies on a whim. If I am fortunate enough to go to work here, I                                   will be a great employee for a long period of time.”

John needs to say this convincingly, with emotion and without hesitation. He can elaborate on this idea. The truth is that if people do like what they’re doing and like that people are doing it with and like the company they’re doing it with and are fairly compensated they don’t just truck off and interview at the drop of a hat. How do I know? I’m a recruiter! I call people all the time to see if they’d be interested in changing jobs. If they are within 70% happy with what they’re doing and who they are doing it with, they basically tell me to, go pound salt. One of the last things that people like doing is looking for a job. If they’re happy doing what they’re doing they just don’t go off an interview because a guy like me calls them.

Now it may take a little more convincing than these few sentences, but you get the idea. Every good leader knows how to be a good follower.

This presentation doesn’t work all the time, but it does work more often than not. Overqualified people can find a job!

 

 

 

… don’t be afraid of paranoia

There’s nothing like a good dose of daily paranoia to get you going. Don’t let anybody kid you, every one of us, even the most experienced and successful wakes up every day with a bit of paranoia wondering, “can I do it again today?”… “Am I really that good?”

Those of us that have learned to live with paranoia find it to be a tremendously healthy emotion if it’s used in the right way. There is unhealthy paranoia and healthy paranoia. We often go berserk with unhealthy paranoia when we should’ve been dealing with it in a healthy way, making it healthy paranoia a long time earlier. In fact, in the business situation, no matter what level you are, if you don’t experience some paranoia you probably aren’t doing your job. And if someone tries to tell me that they have no paranoia… even the slightest bit… that’s the time I remind them that they should be afraid as hell, because they’re probably at one of the biggest risk moments of their life and they don’t even know it. This feeling of invincibility is the first step towards self-destruction.

Unhealthy paranoia is the kind of fear that most people get. They’re afraid of everything. They’re afraid the economy. They’re afraid of their company’s ability to survive the difficult times. They’re are afraid if things are too bad, they’ll go broke. They’re afraid that if things are too good, everybody and their company will get apathetic and expect success. They are afraid to enjoy success because they know it, too, will end. They spend a few hours of their day commiserating with other paranoid people looking for things to be paranoid about. They begin every sentence with, “I’m afraid…” And usually follow it with probability of how things won’t work. No matter how successful they become they are still “afraid.” Even when they should be on top of the world, enjoying success, they remind themselves and everyone else how afraid they are. They are no fun at all even with millions of dollars and everything money can buy. Unfortunately, they have no courage. Most often they implode and “fail” internally despite seemingly external success. They most often die with their money but no one cares.

Healthy paranoia, on the other hand, excites. It puts us on edge. But it’s a healthy fear. What separates healthy paranoia from unhealthy paranoia Is that healthy paranoia leads us to take massive action. When we lay out a massive action plan and then follow it, we can usually work our way out of of our most difficult fears. These people with healthy paranoia begin every day realizing that anything can happen and they need to be ready for it.

These people with healthy paranoia look back on all of the setbacks they’ve had, from going broke, to losing their job, to losing their businesses, to losing loved ones prematurely to death, to experiencing just about every human difficulty you can imagine and somehow they learn from these experiences. They realize the words of Frederick Nietzsche, that “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” This awareness gives them courage. Even though they have fear in the pit of their stomach, they know that since they’ve conquered it before, they can conquer it again. These are joyous, grateful people even in the gravest of situations, even with fear in their gut.

So, if you’re one of those people who operates with unhealthy paranoia try to change the way you see and experience things. Focus on the good things paranoia has helped you to attain. Try to see how that fear in the pit of your stomach can also motivated you. Hang around, even go to work for, someone with healthy paranoia and simply ask them how they do it. Ask them what kind of “self talk” they do.

Don’t be afraid of paranoia… Make it your friend and motivator.

 

 

 

Here’s Why You Should Take Every Interview Available to You

most of the candidates that we work with are presently have a job and interviewing is a hard thing to do. Let’s face it interviewing is a pain in the butt and even though it’s a necessary evil nobody really likes doing it. Michael was an exceptional candidate and two years ago we got them an interview that he really didn’t want to go on.

he actually fought us on it. He said he knew the company, they were a competitor, they had a tremendous amount of turnover, that he never go to work for him and on and on. We convinced him that nobody knows anybody like they think they do and he at least ought to go on the interview and talk to them. He even mumbled something like, “well I guess if I don’t go, you won’t get me other interviews?” we assured him that that’s not the case, but he ought to go on the damn interview.

he went. He really liked the guy he was talking to and wasn’t as unhappy with the company as he thought he would be. He went through a number of interviews, personality surveys and corporate visits. He got the offer but turned it down because we found him a better opportunity. fair enough.

Two years later Miguel decides that he needs to look again. His present company had changed hands and were now being purchased by a private equity company and there was just way too much up in the air about what was going to happen. Being good recruiter’s, we began by looking at the company’s we had referred him to once before.

of course we contacted the company he got the offer from a couple of years ago. Things have really changed. They had a new CEO and a new executive vice president of sales.. Sometimes timing is everything. The new EVP had recently let the manager in the Dallas office go and happen to need a new Regional Director.

the EVP interviewed Miguel on his way through Dallas the Monday after we called him. Not only was the EVP thrilled with Miguel’s experience and background, but some of the managers at corporate, whom he had interviewed with a couple of years ago, remembered him as stellar. It didn’t hurt that his psychological testing that he had done before predicted success.

Within one week of learning of Miguel’s availability, our client hired him as a regional director.

Lesson: … Interview with anybody that even might be interested in your skills or experience. Making a good impression. You never know if you might be speaking to them again.

… boomer women have left the workforce

Up until recently, more baby boomer women than men had been in the workforce… the current employment participation rate for adult men is 77.8% and for women it’s only 58.5%… Why?… How does it affect the economy? There are 1 million fewer women between the ages of 45 and 60 in the workplace today  than there were in 2009. The impact on the economy is obvious because there are 1 million fewer people earning money to move around in the economy. Here are the major reasons our society is experiencing this phenomenon. More women these days are having children when they are older. Many of them began their career, married later than previous generations and started having families later. At the “prime” age for earning… 45 to 55, many of these women still have children in a home that need to be cared for.  Even if they had children at a young age there “young adult” children,, being the lowest percentage of working Americans in the workforce …are moving home and often, these mothers  feel compelled to be at home with their adult children. A woman with children  who plans on going back to work when the children are still young  are faced with a very high cost of childcare.  Often the cost of the childcare outweighs a salary. In fact the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the US and is growing, outweighing the cost of food and housing. So, faced with the cost of childcare, it might be more economical for a woman to stay home rather than work outside the home and pay for child care. The elderly are living longer these days and when their health fails it is logical for their female daughters to stay home and care for them. The average age of unpaid, adult family caregivers, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance is 48 years old…In the sweet spot of a person’s prime professional earnings age range. And making matters worse,  when these women do come back into the workforce after a three or four year period of time, their skills are perceived to be more outdated than with men. This must be because of the perceived jobs and skills that are associated with women. The truth is that there are no more deterioration of skills with out of work women then there are with out of work men. Next week: … How these women can get back into the workplace.

…mentors

it has been a rage for a number of years to give people advice to find mentors..i.e. people that are authorities… wise, trusted teachers… and seek their opinions about all kinds of things..

many candidates, over the years, have decided about an offer or even an interview by seeking the advise of their mentor…i have even known some candidates to think they have two or three mentors…maybe they do..

the problem with most mentors is that they don’t really know enough about most jobs, careers, etc. to an authority or even have an educated opinion about many issues like this..

they are usually friends, parents of friends or associates that may know their own expertise very well, but they are hardly mentors…they maybe trusted…and wise about what they know…but beyond that, their opinions aren’t much better than anyone else’s

here is the lesson…before you take action based on the information of a presumed “mentor”…make sure they are knowledgable about the subject you are asking about..

i can’t tell you the number of times candidates have sought information from mentors who really aren’t…maybe trusted, but far from wise..they were knowledgable in their own expertise, but really ignorant about other things… 

most people love to give opinions…especially about things they know nothing about…

so, if you are going to seek advice from a mentor, make sure they are really wise..

one clue…they aren’t uncomfortable with saying, “i don’t know”…especially when they don’t…in fact, they say that more often than not

….career coaches…personal marketing experts

there are few things really tick me off..i can deal with most stuff…people tell me what they think they want me to hear (..i.e. lie)…or simply don’t even call when they say they will… say they need a job, then drop out of site…or the need to hire someone, claim it is a high priority…then i never hear from them again….

it ain’t right…but it’s OK..people are gonna be people

however…career coaches…not all of them…but most of them really tick me off…yesterday, in a sydicated column that went to millions of people, one of these folks wrote the biggest bunch of junk i have seen since hearing about swamp land in arizona…

this author writes:..”now is a perfect time to search your soul, …become a fearless (career changing) fish out of water… finding your dream job, entering a new industry…

“go fish for the real you…use your difference as a lure…find fish like you…swim in their ocean, but swim your way…put yourself on the line..evolve by casting a wide net…reel in your unique power…”

CRAP…all of it…titled the thing “To land the job, develop your desirability”….that’s it…just be desireable…

this is sooooooo misleading…even deceitful..

unless a career coach has actually found people jobs…i.e. you can talk to previous clients of their’s that, as a result of the advice they received, got a job…run from them..

#1. This is not dating…it is a job search..

#2. You are going to get hired based on your ability to make a company better by performing a job better than anyone else

#3 You have to prove you can perform the work..just cause you dream you’d like to play ball on the same team as LaBron, doesn’t mean you will

the problem i have with this stuff is that most career coaches give people the idea that they can be anything they want to if they “dream…work hard…blah, blah” regardless of their talent or ablity or the market demand..

we get candidates weekly that tell us the “want” a job that is so far beyond their skills and ablity but think they can get it because some “coach” convinced them they could find it

cut it out…this market is tight…why would an employer take a chance on an unproven candidate when there are hoards of candidates with strong, specific track records available???

sooooo “desirability”…doesn’t have as much to do with your getting a job as your “ability”…don’t pay people to kid you

the further away you venture from what you can prove you can do in a job search, the greater the risk a hiring manager is going to take…they don’t need to take many risks in this market…

take the money you are going to give a career coach and give it to charity…you’ll get a much greater return

this advise stinks like very old fish…

…the risk of relocating for a new job

heard from a recent candidate of ours…he took a new job in Florida …the deal has not worked out and he is trying to get back to Texas…and it is really hard to do

it is hard for him to come interview…he’d love if someone will help him out with relo expenses…he is really in a tough spot…the competition for the kind of thing he is looking for is very keen….

lesson: not good to take a new job with a new company and immediately relocate…as much as no one will admit to this, new jobs do not work out 20% of the time…and you are stuck in a new city with no job or having to look for one and you don’ t know many people…all your contacts are “back home”..

so, if you have to relocate for a new job, commute to it for six months or so to see if it is a good fit…then relocate.., also try to get the company you are going to work for to agree to help you get back home if the situation doesn’t work out…do this before you take the new job…

…”well, my severance is about to run out”

…hello! …wake up! what employer is going to want to hire a candidate that says that the reason he started looking for a job is that his severance is about to run out…

..on top of that, the candidate put off looking for a job for four months, and in the next two months his severance will end, and so he has decided to look for a job…

THINK THIS: “How does what I say appear to a perspective employer? Do I come across as a hard working, determined employee who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done?”

take any interview you can

i referred one of my candidates to a company…he knew the V.P. of sales, the guy he was suppose to interview with…they had worked together before..

my candidate didn’t like the guy and told me he really didn’t want to go on the interview…after down right cajoling him, i got him to go…”you never know what might happen,” i said

well, he got to the interview and the V.P. marched him into the CEO’s office and the CEO started interviewing my candidate for a position they had just thought about creating..

it was on the same level as the V.P.’s job…

you never know about what kind of position you might be interviewing for…go on every interview you can..

great job, Dave

dave calls me from kansas…thanks me for the information on how to negotiate…says he got the offer he wanted and followed my advise exactly…got $20,000 more in salary than the company wanted to pay…PLUS a car

good job dave…no matter how great the coach can draw up the plays, they still have to be executed properly..