Most hiring decisions take more than one interview. In fact, it’s not uncommon for there to be three or four interviews. Then there are the references, background checks and the offer discussions. All in all, a process that takes weeks and sometimes, months.
It’s a pretty stressful time. You lie in bed at night wondering what’s happening. When you have a bad day at work, you toy with the idea of quitting because you feel like that new job is just around the corner. Or you worry about taking on a new project because you might not be there to see it through.
Ignore all of these temptations. You don’t have the job until you sign an offer and until then, it should be business as usual. Keep doing your thing and making people happy.
Interviewing is stressful and can be distracting but it is important to stay focused on your day job. When you leave, you want it to be on your terms. You don’t want to have problems putting together references because you suddenly became a “performance problem”.
The other thing is to be careful about who you tell. Most of us have one or two friendlies at work. It can be okay to confide in them but only if you can really trust that they won’t share it with anyone else. And if you choose to share what’s happening with them, don’t do it in the office. Go out for coffee, meet after work or go for a walk. It’s too awkward to have that kind of discussion in and amongst your boss and team. People make assumptions and then gossip about those assumptions. Imagine if you hear from someone in another work group that you were not considered for the new project because they heard you were leaving.
Your partner and your outside-work friends are the best people to share your progress and help you decide what to wear. Your mentors are excellent for this too. They can give you more context, help you lay out the strategy for the next steps or just help you de-stress.
Be patient and try having some warm milk before bed.
Getting feedback from a client after an interview is essential. It’s pretty great when a hiring manager calls to say the interviews went well and they want to move the candidates forward in the process.
Sounds positive right?
But it’s not enough information. It’s tempting to let them off the hook and just move forward. That kind of thinking with come back to bit you later.
You need to know why they like the candidates. “He’s really nice” is not a valid reason to hire someone.
I am not saying you should hire people you can’t stand but you do need to identify what it is about their experience, style and education that makes them seem likely to fill the gap in an organization.
This is equally true when the hiring manager declares that a candidate is not a fit. What is is about them that makes them not a fit? It it something that will develop over time or a characteristic that is not likely to change?
Not knowing a company’s acronyms or specific processes can be overcome. You can even ask questions during the interview about how the candidate has gotten up to speed in the past for some reassurance.
If the candidate shows up late, chews gum and takes a call during the interview, those might be characteristics that make that person a complete non-starter.
But be clear about what specifically is good and what is missing or misaligned. That’s the only way to increase your chances of making a successful hire.
No career/job/networking blather today – I am too busy writing thank you notes.
I hope you have fun and at least slightly indulgent plans for New Year’s Eve.
When you are making all those resolutions, don’t forget your career!
All the best for 2o17 – may it be one of growth and success for us all!
Looking for a new job has a lot of ups and downs….no that’s not true. There are mostly downs. Nothing is more depressing than sitting down to look at postings on LinkedIn and realizing that they are the exact same ones you looked at yesterday.
It can be tough to stay motivated with that staring you in the face. And motivation is what you need to get to a better place in the world of work.
Here is a suggestion: rather than picking through postings in a random lets-see-whats-new approach, make a plan instead.
Identify four or five different types of possible next steps for your career. You might be interested in several different industries, corporate or consulting, stepping sideways or stretching up or maybe you are considering something completely different.
The idea is that you explore one of these tracts each day. This allows you to really pay attention and give that direction some serious research and thought. Maybe after two sessions, you realize that it’s not an appropriate choice. That’s okay. Better to know than to wonder about it later.
This also makes sure you are looking at fresh material every time you sit down. There is a greater chance of seeing the interesting new roles and not just the same old stuff.
So consider adding a little more rigour and structure to your search. It will be well worth the planning time. It will reduce the deflation potential – that feeling of wanting to throw your laptop against the wall because it all looks the same as yesterday.
I once saw Anderson Cooper interview Lady Gaga on the venerable CBS show 60 Minutes. She is a pretty interesting character. Anderson was asking her about how she handles the way the press hang around waiting to catch her in an embarrassing situation.
“Well, Anderson, I am just not a barf in the bar kind of girl”.
This is the kind of authenticity that everyone needs to bring to an interview. It does not matter if it is a telephone interview with a recruiter or a face to face meeting with a hiring manager. Confident, direct and truthful is the way to go.
This does not give you permission to be rude or disrespectful. If you are asked how you got along with your former boss, you really shouldn’t say he was a jerk or he couldn’t read financial statements to save his life. It is okay, however, to explain that you made decisions differently or you had different approaches to customer service.
An interview is like the nice pair of shoes in the shop window. You go in to see if they have your size. You try them on. You walk around for a while, thinking of outfits that will work with them. You think about whether you can afford them. You see if the salesperson will give you a deal and together, you decide if they are the right pair for you.
If they don’t feel comfortable in the shop, don’t buy them, no matter how good a deal they are. They will mock you every time you see them in your closet.
Lady Gaga wouldn’t settle for ill-fitting loafers. Why should you?
How was your year? Seriously. How was it? What did you do? What did you learn?
When asked this question at a cocktail party or an interview, many people go blank and it is a big missed opportunity.
Don’t even think about saying “same old, same old”. Not only is it probably not true, it just shows that you are too lazy to think of something interesting.
If you did something big like change jobs, then it’s easy. You can ride the “new job” train for about nine months and then it’s not new anymore. For everyone else, you need to actually spend some time looking at your calendar from February and April and those other months you can’t remember.
All the memories will come flooding back: that awful conference, that great presentation, the month your boss was away and you got to take over. Those are the things you need to be able to talk about.
You might even want to work them into your resume. At the very least, practice telling the story about the things that you did. I am not suggesting that you bore your cousins to death by telling them the minute details of how you implemented a new quality assurance standard. Just distill it into a couple of sound bites. Those typically go well with eggnog and cookies.
So flip through Outlook and make a list. You might be surprised. Maybe it was a pretty good year after all.