…asking for advice

One of the strongest ways you can get yourself noticed by potential employers or enhance your position in the interviewing process with a potential employer is to ask for advice. Now, this has to be done in the right way and it can’t be done so often with the same person that one becomes a menace at worst and annoying at best.

When you are initially looking for a job and just getting started in the process, it’s a good idea to try to talk to as many people as possible it might be able to interview you or hire you. You simply call them up or reach out to them through LinkedIn and simply ask if they know of anyone that might need someone of your skills. 97% of the people you ask this of in the initial part of your search are going to tell you that they “don’t know of anyone that might be looking for your skills.”

It is important in this situation to, first of all, ask permission to call them back in 30 days or 45 days to see if anyone has come to mind. Ask them if you can send them your resume and then to follow up. After a while you will have an ongoing group of people on a daily basis that you were calling back. Each time you ask them again if you can call them back in 45 days or 60 days. It’s amazing the number of people that you’ll call back the second or third or even fourth time and they’ll say something like, “oh yeah, that department has been looking for is someone for a few months, here is who to call…….”

The reason this happens is that the fact that their company might need someone like you is not uppermost in their mind. What they’re doing at the moment is important to them and the last thing they are thinking about is an opening in someone else’s department, let alone your need for a job. They are reading emails, getting ready for meetings, preparing reports etc. and just don’t have the company’s job opening foremost of their mind. Okay, fine! But when you then engage them with the question of “might I ask you your advice?” You have now involved them personally and you’ve asked about their personal expertise. Now you’ve got them engaged, and they’ve got some personal “skin” in your game.

This question is especially an excellent one at the end of an interview, especially when you get the feeling that the interview did not really go all that well. (I teach the four basic questions that a person needs to ask after every interview in www.thejobsearchsolution.com., But the answer to these questions tell you how you stand in the interviewing process.) If you pretty much get the idea that you’re probably not going to be one of the finalists, a great way to engage the interviewing or hiring authority is to simply ask, “May I get your advice on my interview? How would you evaluate it and how might I have done better?”

In rare instances, I have had hiring authorities actually “help” the candidate reestablish their value and help them by almost “moving on their side of the desk” and helping the candidate to sell themselves. All of a sudden the hiring authority is helping the candidate make a clearer and better presentation of themselves. If there were any misunderstandings in the formal part of the interview, they are likely to be clarified here.

Now, candidates should not hold their breath. Turning the interview around at this point is not very likely. But if nothing else, the candidate might get a better idea of how they might have sold themselves in the interview and, obviously, how they can do better in the future.

It is not uncommon for candidates to not be as clear as they should about their experience, background or accomplishments. Often, hiring authorities feel like that they are, just that, “authorities” and have to act like they understand exactly what a candidate is communicating. Many times they won’t admit that they don’t understand when they don’t. Asking for advice might open up the door for any clarification that might be needed.

 

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