Welcome...

The Wise Job Search aims to provide the "Best of the Best" information, resources, and ideas to help you go from "I didn't get the job" to "I start on Monday!"
Have a job search question? Send an email through the Contact page and check back for an article with an answer!



Drop the Drama!

Some job seekers hurt their chances of getting the help they desperately need in their search because they seem to always create drama in their efforts.

There are a number of ways it comes across, but they are always destructive to effective networking and interviewing.

There’s someone that has been contacting me recently for help in their job search that has been an example of how it should not be done.

This person knew months in advance that her job would be terminated due to a merger. She began contacting me then, seeking help in finding a new position. Her email had a panicked tone asking for help but without any specific requests. I recommended some resources and networking opportunities that were coming up.

Over the next couple of months she would call and email multiple times per week in desperation, seeking advice, asking for general help, and wanting meetings.

However, she had not attended any of the networking events or taken advantage of the resources that had been recommended to her.
As the months went on, her job ended as expected, and the emails and calls continued. Each one sounding more desperate, telling of her fear that her money will run out, expressing exasperation that others aren’t responding to her networking calls, and begging for more help.

Although I would like to help, the consistent dramatic overtone has made it clear to me that I would not refer her to other business contacts I know. I value those relationships and am not willing to impose her on them knowing that she is likely to unprofessionally pursue them as well.

While she has created more of a negative impression than the vast majority of job seekers, it’s a good idea to evaluate how you approach networking contacts as well.

Don’t...

...create an impression that you are depending on your contacts to do your work for you
...come across as begging and pleading for help
...ignore the advice you’re given
...miss other networking opportunities and resources
…express your frustrations and worries

Do…

…treat each person you talk to as a professional business contact
…demonstrate how you are also pursuing things on your own
…follow up with updates on how you pursued leads and advice you’ve been given
…demonstrate being pleasantly, professionally, persistent
…show professional optimism and good cheer in each contact
…respect their time
…make it clear you will handle all new contacts professionally

While people overwhelmingly would like to be helpful in some way, they also do not want to be known for referring people that are burdensome and unprofessional. How do you come across?

Even your best friend will look at you in a different light when considering introducing you to their best business contacts. Do your conversations exude professional optimism? Or are the majority of your discussions downers, full of drama, and filled with complaints?

Would you refer someone like you to your best contacts?

Look at your own attempts at reaching out from an objective point of view. Ask yourself some tough, self-evaluating questions, and make adjustments accordingly.

Drop the drama, and you’re likely to get better networking results!


RELATED ARTICLES:

Are you looking for excuses or solutions?

Don’t be THAT guy!

How do employers judge professionalism?

What do hiring managers want?



Read more!

Tell it like it is!

A great deal of job search advice available online, in books, and from coaches involves how to best answer various questions that come up in interviews.

Job seekers look for the best canned answers to help them ensure a positive outcome. They want to know the best spin or the “correct” response to get to the next stage of the hiring process or an offer.

While it is important to present yourself in the best way possible… it’s a bad idea to give an answer that’s not true for you!

It’s not uncommon for someone to get the offer, and then find that the job is a disaster once they get to work. They often assume that the company wasn’t forthcoming with them about the job or the culture. However, they don’t think about how they may have portrayed themselves to the employer.

Someone pursuing a sales position may be asked about how they deal with cold-calling new prospects. Knowing that’s an important point in the selection process for a new hire, they may paint a picture of enjoying it and aggressively going after it, while knowing that it’s one of the least attractive aspects of a sales role for them.

They may get the position, but end up failing because they were in the habit of procrastinating when it came to cold-calls. They are frustrated with the company, yet the employer is frustrated as well since they were led to believe cold-calling was one of the candidates’ strengths.

Someone may give the “correct” answer about preferring to work with a team as opposed to working individually, yet know that constant teamwork has generally led to dissatisfaction in their work life. They may convey that they appreciate accountability and feedback from their supervisor, but then be resentful because they feel micro-managed. They may “spin” a question on their weakness by implying they “work too hard”, and then become irritated when they are consistently given projects that require extra hours and effort.

While always giving answers that they think the employer wants to hear, they often don’t think about the picture they are painting of themselves and the expectations they are setting. They get the job, but everyone is disappointed when things don’t turn out as hoped for.

Presenting your actual strengths, weaknesses, interests, abilities, and skills as positively as possible is critically important in the interview process. However, it’s vital to be honest about yourself in those areas as well. Being honest may, at times, mean you don’t get an offer. However, it would likely be a job that would be a poor fit for you anyway. Often, an employer is likely to find honesty refreshing, and they realize a candidate is not likely to fit every aspect of a job at any rate. Getting someone that will tell them things as they are is often more attractive than someone that tries to always deduce the “desired” answer.

Hone your answers to common interview questions carefully, however, always be sure to tell it like it is!


RELATED ARTICLES:

Ya’ Gotta Be You!

Interviewing the Interviewer

Is it OK to tell an employer you prefer to take a step back?

Type A in a laid-back world



Read more!

Who’s supposed to keep you engaged in your job?

A very large company that has been struggling with economic turmoil the last few years had a conference call recently between the CEO and a majority of its employees. There was an extended period of Q&A where anyone could ask the CEO anything they’d like about the status and direction of the company.

One of the questions posed was...

“Since staffing levels haven’t kept up with the workload lately, what are you going to do to keep people engaged and motivated in their jobs.”

The CEO didn’t directly address the question, and seemed somewhat taken aback by it.

Among many employees, the consensus was that he blew it and was shirking his responsibility by not providing incentives for people to do their jobs.

It’s not unusual for a similar type of question to be asked by candidates in a job interview.

What does the question say about the candidate, and what is a company’s responsibility? The answers certainly are varied depending on who you ask and can inflame passions.

Part of the consideration is to determine the reason for the company’s existence. While there may be exceptions, especially in non-profit organizations, the reason for a company’s existence is to provide a product or service in order to create a profit for its owners and shareholders. The company does not exist to provide jobs for people.

Jobs are a very beneficial side effect for society, and necessary for the company to operate. In order to attract the quantity and quality of talent it needs to achieve it’s goals, in a free market system, it must pay competitive wages.

In a free market system, employees are not indentured servants. They have a right to leave a position at any time, or choose not to work at a company they don’t like.

Ethically, however, employees have an obligation to the company to give their best effort to do the job they are being paid to do.

They are being paid a salary that they agreed to accept to stay “engaged” in their job. The question posed to the CEO by the employee implied that without additional incentives, they somehow had no responsibility to do their best work. As a CEO, that would not be an encouraging thought to come from one of their employees!

It’s certainly good business to create a culture and environment where people are appreciated and made to feel good about coming to work each day. However, whether the company creates that kind of environment or not, an employee has an obligation to do their jobs to the best of their  ability for the wages they agreed to, or leave the company if they don’t.

While it’s fair, and reasonable for a candidate to inquire about the company’s culture and incentives in a job interview, how it’s asked can have tremendous bearing on the impression that’s made. If it’s perceived that the candidate is primarily interested in finding a culture compatible with their work style and personality, it appears they are smart about their selection process. If, however, it’s perceived that their work ethic is conditional on whether they believe they are appropriately appreciated, it’s likely to create a very negative impression.

It’s natural to want to find an employer that does all it can to keep you happy, and many companies do their best to do that. Their purpose, however, is to make their organization as successful as possible. The employees responsibility is to give their best effort in the job they agreed to accept.

When someone comes to an interview with a clear understanding that it’s not about them, but rather about filling a want or need the company has, they immediately stand out from the crowd.

What impression do you create when you interview?


RELATED ARTICLES:

It’s Not About You!

Would You Hire You?

Who’s Responsibility Is it?

Lots of interviews, but no offers?



Read more!

Don’t stop with one!

It’s not unusual that I hear a job seeker say something like...

“Thanks for the name, but I already have a contact at that company.”

As often as not, the company they are referring to is a very large organization with thousands of employees.

While their contact may be a good one, it’s foolish to rely on only one... or five contacts at a large company to be your door into the organization.

Even at small companies, it’s generally a good idea to build relationships with multiple people to ensure you’re someone that comes to mind when an appropriate opportunity arises. At large companies, it’s imperative that you connect and make yourself known with as many contacts as you can. Whether your contacts are in the area of the company you’re pursuing or not is not as important as having a number of people that know you and are willing to let you know or refer you to appropriate positions.

As an example, someone that was pursuing a position at a Fortune 50 company in my area, made a point of meeting as many people as he could. Within a few weeks, he had arranged to meet over coffee with 24 people. Some were in his functional area, and many were not.
In the process, he learned a great deal about the company, their business challenges, the culture, and the important “hot buttons” that would be valuable in an interview.

When a position came up that was in his area of expertise, 4 of those people recommended him to the hiring manager. The person got a call from the hiring manager stating that he had a position open, and although he didn’t know if they would fit or not, he thought they better meet because 4 people recommended him.

He got the interview, was able to put the information he learned to use, and got the job!

Had he only met with one or two people it’s not likely he would have been referred for the position. He wouldn’t have had as much credibility with the hiring manager if only one person had referred him rather than four. And he wouldn’t have been as knowledgeable in the interview had he not learned as much as he did from all those meetings.

Never be satisfied with one contact when 2 or 20 would serve your job search more effectively!


RELATED ARTICLES:
The Art of an Informational Interview
Networking is not a “One Hit Wonder”
Connect More On LinkedIn
Your Elevator Speech: Keep It Simple Silly


Read more!

Additional "Wise Job Search" Help by Topic: