Why Job Seekers Still Don’t Get It
You would think that after all the advice from job search experts and gurus that job seekers would finally get it. As a cynic I no longer smirk at the repetitious lessons featured everywhere for those who are struggling. Why? because, for some reason, candidates refuse to accept really important search basics. Many who complain they are not getting hired are either are deaf to their miscalculations or simply stubborn to the facts of job search life in 2020. For example —
Please Enjoy the Music
This is an actual cell phone greeting used by millions of professionals. You listen to the music while your party is reached! After the résumé impresses and an employer or recruiter sees value in the candidate, why create such a turn-off? No one calls you to be entertained and your taste in music can be quite revealing! Your voicemail may be the first opportunity to impress someone with your message as a human being. Vocal communications send two messages; a caller will be able to gauge both your energy level and your ability to be articulate. This is a real opportunity to impress and missing it, as the caller enjoys the music, can cast real doubt on your judgment.
Tired of Waiting Around
Recently a Senior Vice President sought to become a client. He had made application online to his top 20 favorite companies and had received no response. When he called he said he was tired of waiting around. Naturally this statement told me why his search was so fruitless. In time this misinformed, entitled executive realized that the days of receiving a phone call with a job offer were over. Today many of the colleagues who used to seduce him with inflated packages are also job seekers. While learning the concept of online job search many have been led to believe that applying for a job online would be much like answering yesterday’s classified newspaper ad. The very term “wait for it” while representing savvy with patience in other life situations needlessly prolongs a coveted job offer. The concept of what you offer not who you are is the only answer. Your inherited or earned status means very little in a job market filled with like-competitors.
Learning from Recruiters
Contingency recruiters are folks who only get paid when they produce candidates who are hired by companies. Even in a challenging economy they continue to be well-paid by employers for producing attractive talent in spite of today’s overabundance of job seekers. Their most effective tool in connecting with employers continues to be the phone. No amount of email, search engines or web site activity will bring recruiting communities close enough to earning their paychecks, a hefty 20% to 30% of their candidate’s first year compensation. As logic dictates and without the hefty bounty, why can’t candidates pick up the phone? As we attempt to enlighten job seekers, career coaches hear all the common excuses: they don’t know who to call, they’re not sure a job opening exists and then there are those gatekeepers designed to screen them out. Career job seekers tend have several things in common; they lack creativity and courage, and this is never more apparent than when asking them to pick up the phone.
It’s Not About You
When asked, are you prepared to define what you’re looking for in your next job? Be careful! Not that employers don’t care about your desire for stability, knowledge and opportunity, but only because their biggest expense lies in staff turnover. Like an involuntary response, job seekers will inevitably play the well-being card and since we all want the same things, employers mentally check out. Please save your dreams for your family. We constantly tell job seekers to offer themselves as the solution when interviewing. They do far better if asked, “what can you do for us?” Unfortunately they lose it when asked what they are looking for. The remedy? Define your offerings and practice verbalizing them in conversation. Then learn to respond to all questions by pointing back to your specific value to them!
Excuses Du Jour
Even in a thriving economy we hear it but today we have shocking statistics. There are no jobs. It’s age discrimination. I don’t have a degree. Let’s face it. Job search will never boost anyone’s self confidence. Executives who normally control their corporate worlds are now helpless, and others who feel the least bit unsure going into job search are devastated by rejection. Two habits are guaranteed to prolong your entry back in to the working world and unfortunately they now exist in epidemic proportions. Believing there are no jobs is paralyzing and untrue. Many times job seekers who adopt this sense of hopelessness have lost the will to endure the hunt. There have never been zero jobs; perhaps fewer openings and more competition. The job search that falls short can normally be attributed to some form of underperformance. We are best served to seek real answers and stop with the excuses. The fact remains that most of us really do have to get back to work and if we’ve dropped out, the sooner we reboot the better.