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Still Waiting for That “Hot” Job Opportunity to Come Through?

Posted on September 29, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Maybe you can relate with Joanne. Joanne was doing some contract work but really wanted a full-time gig. While she was considering what to do about her job search, a miracle happened (or at least it seemed like one at the time). She had a “hot” job prospect come up without even having to do anything for it. A colleague of hers got her an introduction for a coveted permanent position at a coveted firm she had been eyeing.

It was magical. So magical, in fact, that Joanne waited for 3 months for something to happen, 1 month after the end of her latest contract and 3 months beyond any other type of job search effort. In other words, she let her current contract end without lining up another one and she stalled her job search until she “saw this opportunity through.”

In the small business world, we call this the “kiss of death” where that very nice-seeming “maybe” opportunity lulls us into a false sense of hope.

In Joanne’s defense, she did have good reason for this hope: She had a very strong referral that resulted in 1 informal phone interview and 2 face-to-face interviews during that 3-month period. Everyone sounded positive, and so Joanne had no reason to doubt that something would come through.

But no offer came.

So, she thought, “well, I can probably line up another short-term contract for a month or two and wait on this some more. After all, they said it might take them a bit.”

Then another two months go by, another contract ends, still no offer. After 5 months, Joanne is right back where she started.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common and typically ends with a lot of frustration on the part of the job seeker…and not without merit: It looked like this hot opportunity was going to come through.

BUT

A “maybe” is always, always a “no” until it isn’t.

If you’ve ever had any experience with sales or business development you learn this lesson pretty quickly. People say a lot of things, and they might even mean what they say, but until there’s a signed offer or a closed “deal,” unfortunately, it’s all just words.

You can be optimistic, hopeful even, but don’t be fooled.

No matter how great the opportunity or even opportunities, if you are committed to making a career move, then you need to keep your search going despite all the “maybe” options that are out there.

Also, if you do come across a hot opportunity like Joanne’s, don’t go at it with a mediocre approach.

Because Joanne had such a great referral, she thought that meant she didn’t need to put much into her overall branding strategy (resume, LI profile, etc.). In fact, she did very little with them thinking they already “knew” her and didn’t care about that stuff. In the end, though, that might have cost her a lot more, for despite the strong referral, the company hesitated and eventually failed to pull the trigger on hiring her. She didn’t understand that although her referral got her in front of one level of decision maker, it didn’t do much for those above (a common mistake candidates also make with the promotion process). She still needed to go in strong, especially on the second interview, but the false sense of hope she carried into this “maybe” made her believe that the second interview was just a formality.

Listen. The job search is a tough road. Sometimes we get lucky, and things move quickly and easily. Or maybe in the past it has always been pretty smooth sailing for us. But in today’s market, more often than not, we do have to persevere. Companies are more discerning buyers these days. They like referrals, and they do want to work with people they “know.” But even if you go in with all of that, it’s still not a done deal until the offer is in hand.

Besides, what kind of leverage do you have if you stall your job search to see this one through? You want to put yourself in the best position for negotiations, and you can’t do that when you put all your eggs in one basket.

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

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Your Job Interview Is Personal

Posted on February 12, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

interviewI get a lot of requests to work with clients on their interview skills. They want to know the “secret” formula to performing well at them, and they are pretty sure, because they heard it from someone somewhere, that it rests on how well you present your credentials and on how savvy a negotiator you are. So they put a lot of effort into preparing factual responses and reading up on negotiating skills.

It makes sense that they think this because, well, that is pretty much what every HR and corporate hiring guru says: Have these credentials and impress us with your “brand”. Be prepared for every possible question we might throw your way.

The truth is, though, that when you really dissect what makes for the best interview, it comes down to how well all the people in the room, not just you, the candidate, interact. In other words, the people part is really what makes or breaks the deal even if no one involved with the process likes to admit it.

I’ve witnessed “no” turn to “yes” more times than I can count simply because of the personal side of interviewing. In the same token, I’ve witnessed perfectly credentialed candidates with well-prepared responses to every question and scenario be passed over without hesitation.

So it is clearly not just a question of credentials.

Now, some might argue, “Of course not. Cultural fit matters too. Candidates have to appear highly personable so they will seem like a good fit” (to which all the introverts on the planet collectively groan).

Although cultural fit is an issue of importance for both the hiring group and the candidate, it’s not really it either.

The truth is you are having a discussion with either one other person or a group of other people and there are a lot of personal things going on, some of which may or may not have anything to do with you. For instance, depending on what time of day your interview is, the interviewer may be having one heck of a bad day (or a good one) or home life issues could be at play for both you and them. In other words, attitudes and distractions and feelings are all invisibly in the mix whenever we have any discussion, much less a job interview.

The ones I’ve seen do best in interviews are the ones who understand this human element, and they use it to build a connection and launch point for a valuable discussion.

Sure, they still present their credentials and their “brand.” Sure, they still prepare logical responses to situational-type questions. Sure, they still discuss their “first 30-day initiatives.” The difference is that they do it after getting a good pulse of attitudes and the type of day it is, using it to make a human connection, and bringing that into finding out what the real interests of the other party are.

Here are some tips on doing that:

  • Show your interest in them as people, not as a means to an end. People sense desperation and when they are being used. Authenticity is hard to fake, and a good interviewer knows that. This is where a lot of perfectly credentialed people fall flat, handing the job over to someone less qualified.
  • Find a common enemy. Believe it or not, but common enemies are much more powerful connectors than shared interests. Maybe you both groan over the cold weather or the terrible traffic or the constant runny nose your kids have. Whatever it is, establishing a common enemy is a great way to “bond” quickly.
  • Talk benefits, not features. This approach is common in sales, but it applies in the interview (as well as many other scenarios). We have a tendency to list off all of our wonderful features as though they alone are benefits, but that is not necessarily true. OK, so you went to Harvard. Exactly how will that benefit the company, though? You can either say, “I went to Harvard” or you can say, “I will leverage my alumni connections at Harvard to build a strong team here.” The latter focuses on how your attending Harvard benefits the company. THAT is differentiation because someone else went to Harvard too, but they can’t explain how that does a darn thing for the company except that it can say it has hired someone from Harvard.

So when preparing for your next interview, be careful not to be too formulaic, too “rational”. Be sure to consider how to make those connections.

 

 

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You?

 

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Protecting the Tech Career You’ve Built

Posted on January 22, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We get a lot of questions about what we mean when we say “protecting” or refer to “career protection.” The following presentation tells the story of how this idea of protection took root and how it has evolved into everything we do at ITtechExec and NoddlePlace. It is our sincere belief that in today’s market, whether you’ve been around a bit like our ITtechExec members have, or are just starting to climb the ladder, like our NoddlePlace members, that you do more than just toss out resumes and scour job boards. It’s time to protect what you’ve built so far:

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