…has the market gotten better?

I get asked this at least three times a day… don’t hold your breath… this is going to be a long dig out of the hole we’re in… the boom that brought us here was long and so the bust is going to be as long..duh!

I experienced six recessions since I got into this profession in 1973… they averaged 12 months as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research…

This most recent recession has lasted, according to them, 18 months…However, the employment recession takes nine months longer than the economy to recover… we have just started seeing that recovery.

Companies are still fearful… lots of medium and small sized businesses can not get loans… the extension of the Bush tax cuts is a relief, but it is only for two years… nice, but not long enough…

Companies are doing more replacement hires than they are expansion positions… but nonetheless their attitude is a little better…

What this means is that, if you were looking for a job, you still need to sell yourself better than any other candidate and work harder at getting more interviews than you ever imagined… the other day I heard economists say that within three years, employment will be back at 6%… that’s still a long time… don’t expect miracles… don’t expect it to get easier

…two unfortunate mistakes

Being a successful interview can boil down to two or three very small things… You gotta THINK…”How is this going to sound on the part of the employer I am speaking with?”… Has to be your constant question…

One of my candidates was doing very well in the interview… an interview that was lasting almost 2 hours… he  knew he was doing well… the hiring authority asked him if he had any questions.

The candidate stated, “I’d like to know what the career path is with this job?” He apparently said it in a rather demanding way… and there was no need for him to say anything like this, but he did… the employer took it to mean the candidate was concerned about where he was going to go beyond the present job he was interviewing for… there had been quite a bit of turnover in this particular position, unbeknownst to the candidate, and the last thing the employer wanted to hear was how a candidate was going to “springboard” into a different job from this particular position…

At the very end of the interview the hiring authority asked the candidate if he had any other opportunities he was interviewing for… the candidate said he was “close” to a couple of situations and was expecting an offer the next day…

The hiring authority simply asked who was he expecting an offer from… the candidate wouldn’t tell him… the candidate said it was really none of the hiring authority’s concerned who he was getting an offer from… very, very bad answer!

These two faux pas made the difference in the candidate being eliminated…

Think!… Think!… little things and making a real big difference in an interview.

… Way to go, Steve

Steve makes it through two interviews with a $30 million company and he has a final one with the CEO… he doesn’t do poorly, but he knows he didn’t hit it out of the park either…

The CEO calls and tells me he’s going to pass on Steve … he loves his energy and aggressiveness but he doesn’t think Steve’s experience relates to what they do very well… when I tell this to Steve, he communicates that the CEO wasn’t paying attention during the interview…

Steve decides he is not going to take “no” for an answer so he tells me he is going to go over to the CEO’s office and wait for him…

The next morning at 9 AM the CEO calls me and says, “this guy Steve I interviewed the other day is in my office… why?”… I tell him I have no idea…

An hour and a half later, Steve calls and says he got the job… he explained to the CEO that he didn’t communicate very well why his experience was perfect for their company… way to go, Steve!

…more about stories

Learning stories… These are stories about what you might have learned … either from successes or from failures … they could be about your successes or your failures as well as other people successes and other peoples failures…

People love to hear stories about how you turned failure into success and what you learned from it..we all have those stories…make sure you have one ready, too…

Value stories…These are close to learning stories … but they’re more like examples of values such as honesty, integrity, character, “do the right thing,” … etc.

“I learned the value of hard work by having four jobs while in college… I always had plenty of spending money and even saved money”… Again, not hard to come up with or find … just have a couple of them…

“I know which are thinking” stories… These are stories that center around issues the hiring authority might have about your background or your experience that you address before they are brought up by the hiring authority…

These are a great way to deal with concerns in your experience or your background that an employer might have … for instance, if you’ve had three jobs in three years, you know a hiring authority is gonna be concerned about that … so you say, “it’s obvious I’ve had three jobs in three years and that is a big concern, I’m sure for you and it is for me to … here is what happened…”

“I never completed my degree because my father died and since I was the oldest of my family, I had to go to work to support the family…”

These are stories that bring up issues obvious to a perspective employer and you need to answer the concerns with a story before the issue is even mentioned … these kind of stories take a little practice and for every risk you might have in your experience or background you need to have a story to explain it…

Please remember that to interview effectively you do not have to have all six types of stories … in fact two or three personal stories about you and two or three business stories about how and what you learned in the process will suffice … they need to be short… no more than 45 seconds ..and need to highlight a particular point of your career…

STORIES SELL!

…Six types of stories … the first three

there are six types of stories… This doesn’t mean that you have to demonstrate all six types in the interviewing process … however it’s good to know the types of stories there are so that as you envision them  and tell them you can “categorized” them

The first type of story is “who I am” stories … these are stories that identify who you are, where you’ve been, where you come from, etc. … stories about you growing up, working your way through college, personal challenges as you’ve grown up, personal stories about yourself that show you to be a loyal and quality employee … are all “who I am” stories…

“why I am here” stories… These are stories about what you’re gonna do for a new employer… Positive stories as to why you’re looking for a job… “I love what I do and I love the people that I’m working for … unfortunately…(short story) “… and you better make it an engaging in positive story as to why you need to change jobs or why you are changing jobs…

” vision “stories… Stories about the future… what the company would look like when you were there based on the changes and impact you had on the companies that you have worked for in the past… In other words,” this is how like transformed the companies that I worked for before… “

…Stories

over the next few posts, I’m going to speak to you about stories … can’t tell you how impactful stories are during the interviewing process … and it’s very important that you get this so that you can weave your stories into your interviewing presentation about yourself…

From philosophers we learn that stories that are more than entertainment, they teach us the art of being human… When you tell stories about yourself or your career, you’re communicating your human side as well as explaining what you’ve done in the past and how you will be successful for the company that you are interviewing with…

From psychologists we learned that stories are successful because they remove the prejudice of the listener toward the storyteller and encourage the listener to identify with the person in the story … people remember stories because they identify with the people in the stories … by doing that, the listener becomes more engaged with the storyteller and asks themselves questions like “what would I have done in that situation? “… That is why Jesus Christ taught in parables … the Buddha, Aesop another great teachers taught with stories…

And from the King and Alice in Wonderland we learned how to tell a story when he instructed to the white rabbit to “begin at the beginning …and go all the way to the end”…

these three pillars of story telling are the basic reason why and how stories about you in the nterviewing porcess will help you do well

… can we work the money out?

This is the easiest of all the questions you’ll be asked in the interviewing process and, interesting enough, it only amounts for 10% of the hiring decision … and it is the easiest of all the questions to deal with …

The reason that it is easiest to deal with is that if you do a good job in all of the other questions … the really hard questions.. the money usually takes care of itself …. money and the discussion of money rarley end up making a difference in a candidate excepting a job or not…

Many people looking for a job talk about money in the initial stages of interviewing process simply because it is a common denominator and while they may not be able to define a job that they might consider or might want without being too abstract, they can discuss money in very concrete terms…

Don’t be nervous about money and don’t overreact to it one way or the other… but when it comes time to speak about money approach it like you would any other issue… is fair to ask what kind of money is associated with the position, if you don’t know that already

do not have any preconceived “bottom line figure”  that you will or won’t accept … it’s more important to consider many other aspects of the job before you consider money…

remember that money and title are the two most flexible things that an employer has to deal with and they are the two issues  most influenced by performance…

Now, if you are presently employed and you have for offers that you are considering, you may have a little leverage when it comes to discussing money with a perspective employer … if you have been out of work for six months and this is the only job offer you’ve even come close to, you’re likely to be a lot more flexible…

try to always discuss money face to face … try to never do it over the phone and don’t get too nervous about it … simply state what you think is fair after you hear what the employer thinks is there and try to take an “we’re all and this together” approach … never be confrontational or adversarial…

And contrary to most people’s beliefs, companies are not trying to pay as little as they can and candidates are not necessarily trying to get as much as they can… This has to be a really good deal for everybody and nobody should feel taken advantage of… If you take it a “we’re all in this together … let’s try to work it out together ” approach it will be easy and fruitful for both of you…

Practice your discussion of money with your spouse or a trusted friend

…do we like you?

This amounts to 40% of hiring decision … that’s right 40% … people really don’t like hearing this… It makes everyone uncomfortable because they think that hiring ought to be more “fair”  then having your personality and being liked play that much of a role in the hiring process…

But that’s the way it is … reality, whether you like it or not… people hire who they like and they don’t hire who they don’t like, no matter how qualified to candidate might be…

In fact, I have seen more less than qualified candidates… event downright unqualified candidates hired because they were liked then you can ever imagine… and, as a corollary, I have never seen even the momst well qualified candidate hired that wasn’t liked by a the interviewing and hiring authorities…

What does this mean? Well, it means that you need to be a “likable” person in the interviewing process … it means being warm, friendly, engaging, vulnerable and affable without being contrived … it means being able to communicate yourself and your successes in stories that people can identify with … it means identifying with the interviewing and hiring authorities…( it sure helps to do research on these people when you are going to interview with them … any common knowledge or experiences are always appreciated)…

Simply realizing that this issue is so much a part of the hiring decision gives you an advantage… practice your interviewing style… practice being “likable”…

… can you do the job?

This is the most basic question that a hiring authority needs to know… now it may seem obvious, but you might be surprised that the number of people who know, because they make the assumption that they know they can do the job, assume that the employer or hire an authority and knows that to…

Don’t make this assumption! … Be sure that you make it clear to the interviewing or hiring authority your basic skills, exactly what you have done in the past that would lead them to belief that you can do what they want done…

this issue is only 20% of a hiring decision, but it is the first 20% that a hiring or interviewing authority is going to try to establish…

No matter how good you are, if you don’t make it clear to hiring authority how  your skills and experience relate to the job they want done, that you clearly can and do their job… You won’t get hired…

I can’t tell you the number of follow-up calls that I’ve made with perspective employers, after interviewing one of my candidates, they reflected that they really seem to like the candidate a lot, but they got so wrapped up in the interview that they never really established confidence that the candidate could do what they want done… Why? … They never asked, and the candidate assumed they knew that he or she could do the job…

So, be sure to establish your ability based on your experience to do the job… It is certainly fine, at the end of the interview to simply ask the hiring or interviewing authoirity if they’re clear about your experience and background and your ability to do the job they want done…

DON’T OVERLOOK THIS SIMPLE BUT IMPORTANT QUESTION!

… the four basic questions

there are four basic questions that any employer is asking you during the interviewing process… No matter how long or short the interviewing process is, these four major questions need to be answered satisfactorily on the part of the potential employer… Here are the questions and the percentage of the hiring decision they represent…

can you do the job? … 20%
do we like you? … 40%
are your risk?… 30%
can we work the money out? … 10%

Most job candidates focus way too much on the last question of money… That is the easiest part of the whole process…

If all of the other questions are satisfactorily answered, the money is going to take care of itself… It is very rare for the money issue to stand in the way of a good candidate in a good opportunity act if the hiring authority is satisfied that the other three issues are positive…

So, over the next few days, I will discuss how to satisfy the potential employers concern with these four basic questions… if you get the message, you’re interviewing will be a lot easier