Archive for the Networking Category

Every Hire Is A Miracle

Posted in Confidence, Hiring Managers, Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized on February 9, 2010 by jcsicareerassist
Your Resume Has To Get Through Here

Your resume is in here

As you can see, it has been a month since our last blog post.  Let this be a sign for those of you on the job market that better days are coming.  We have been working on some hard to fill positions that did not allow me to complete some of the blog posts that I have started.  This post was one of them.  The inspiration for the title came from the fact  that behind the scenes of every job posting, there exists  a complete network that is constantly expanding and contracting, bringing in people and releasing them all in an effort to make the right fit.

Many of you will agree that navigating today’s job market is a mystery. With so many avenues to potentially connect with employers, how can one know which one will bring the results they are looking for? Do you rely on your recruiter, the job boards, and social media or do you stick to your network? And what if you don’t really know how to network? With so much to think about it’s hard to see how anyone gets hired even when the economy is good.

Well the fact is, even if you are the best interviewer in the world and mastered every one of the above mentioned tools and techniques, finding a job is still a miracle when you examine it. Much like the “Butterfly Effect“,  a job opening that ultimately matures into a filled position depends on certain conditions. Most people assume that just because a postion is posted somewhere it means that it will be filled.  This is not always the case.  Unless, the position is open to replace someone who left a mission critical role, many positions are created for other reasons such as anticipated growth, consolidation of functions, or to be solution providers for areas that require some form of process improvement. 

In order to get approval for a requisition, a hiring manager has to make the case that this new role is critical to achieving the goals set forth by the leadership.  Once this is done, they must create a job description to assist them in finding someone that they are not even sure exists. The search ensues using every available resource.  Throughout this time they will receive many resumes.  Some resumes will be close and some will be quite a departure from the criteria.  In the meantime they must interview potential candidates as well as keep the department running.  Each hour that they are interviewing for the right candidate is an hour that they are potentially losing production time or having to work later.

As the process is moving forward there may be several changes made to the requirements, offers can be made and declined, and projections may change based on market fluctuations.  All these behind the scenes situations are directly affecting whether or not a candidate is hired or even interviewed for that matter. Meanwhile many candidates who are unaware that all of this is going on are wondering why they never heard anything back from their online application submission.

Ultimately, most positions are created to keep money and time from being lost or to bring more money in while cutting the time it takes to create the product or service offering.  That means if an organization can figure out a way to get the job done with the resources they have on hand they will hold off on making the hire.  So with that in mind there will always be comparable forces working against a hire as there are working for it.  So do you see why I say every hire is a miracle?

I think this message is important to jobseekers for several reasons, but most importantly, it is for you to have perspective.  One never knows how long a job search will last.  Understanding the process is important to maintaining momentum throughout your search.  There are a lot of moving parts to the recruitment and selection process.  Each of them has to work in concert in order for someone to make it through the entire process.  Multiply this by the number of people applying for the position and you can see that finding the right fit is no easy task for anyone involved.

This is why we encourage candidates to stay the course.  If we thought about all of the people and resources it takes to get eggs to our grocery store, we’d be amazed by every omelette we ever see.  Such is the recruitment process.  The hope is that with this information, you will not let the hiccups of process discourage you in your search, but rather see that when you are called for a phone screen or interview, this dynamic process has come together to give you the opportunity to tip the scales in your favor.  We wish you the best.

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Be The Turducken When You Interview

Posted in Communication, Empowerment, Hiring Managers, Interview Secret, Interviewing, Motivation, Networking, Personal Brand with tags on November 25, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

With Thanksgiving here, I decided to get festive in my interview analogies by introducing the Turducken as a model for job seekers to consider the next time they sit down for an interview.  For those of you who have never heard of the Turducken, it is a partially deboned Turkey that is stuffed with a deboned duck that has also been stuffed with deboned chicken.  But that’s not it.  There’s more stuff inside.  The minds who invented this culinary delight go further by filling all of the gaps and cavities with other stuffings.  Just thinking about eating it is intimidating to me.  Talk about more than “meats” the eye.

When I heard about the Turducken just recently, my mind went straight to the thought that like this meal, there’s always more to people than what is on the surface.  So keeping with the whole Thanksgiving theme, I thought that it would be a good idea for people on the job market to think about what they are grateful for–the gifts, skills, and talents that they have honed over the years.  Think about what kind of services you can provide to an organization–all of the things that you possess on the inside that are not made visible by a resume or online profile.  The next time you present yourself, be the Turducken.

This may sound like a strange analogy at first, but just imagine that someone asks you to cut the Thanksgiving “bird” and to your surprise you find a duck, and then in that duck, you find a chicken.  If that’s the first time you’ve seen such a thing, you won’t soon forget it.  And, more than that you are going to tell others about it.  That’s what candidates need to go for when they interview.  You want to pleasantly surprise the first interviewer so that they will tell the next person in line and on and on until the whole company gets to know you.  We’ll be talking more about this approach to the interview process in our upcoming webinar, The Anatomy of the Interview Process on December 9, 2009 at 12PM.  In the meantime, I suggest candidates take time  this holiday season to focus on what cannot be seen and working with others on how to share that with others.  If you can get one person talking on your behalf, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Creating a Job Search “A-Team”

Posted in Diversity, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Team Building, Team-Working, Uncategorized on October 12, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

If you or anyone you know has been on the job market for any length of time, you will understand that for most people the hardest part of the job search is staying motivated throughout the process.  Traditionally, we are taught to work for rewards.  At the completion of every action, there is an almost inherent expectation of some sort of feedback.  This can come in the form of money, recognition, or even constructive criticism.  All of which we receive from a job.

Once the job is removed from the dynamic, the context of work will take on a whole new meaning.  When you are seeking full-time employment, finding a job is your job.  For many, the longer they are on the search without receiving feedback relative to the work they do, the more diminished they feel.  It can be equated to working on a project for your employer and never hearing whether or not you are on target.  This is a situation that most workers detest and often leads to disengagement.  But what will be the result of disengaging from one’s own job search?

In his book, Who’s Got Your Back, bestselling author Keith Ferrazzi, encourages his readers to break free of the “go it alone” mentality that is prevalent in our society and to establish what he calls, “Lifeline Relationships” to help build success.  The idea behind his message is simple.  Identify a  few trusted individuals with whom you can freely express yourself and enlist them to help you sustain accountability in achieving your goals. 

When applied to the job search, this group could be part of what is called a “Job Search Work Team”. This concept based on the Pierson Method by Oliver Pierson has been employed by industry leader Lee, Hecht, Harrison for over a decade with great success.  Furthermore, according to www.highlyeffectivejobsearch.com this method is scientifically proven to speed up the job search.

This is why forming your own team for your job search can be a perfect solution to help you achieve your mission.  To illustrate how these teams can work for you, we’ll use the example of the 80’s TV show, The A-Team.  The main lesson to learn from this show is to build a team with diverse skill sets.

  • John “Hannibal” Smith– The Planner.  This character was the one who began with the end in mind and figured out a way to get there.  Having someone like this on your team is essential.
  • B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus-The Mechanic.  Inevitably you will run into snags in your plan and when you do, you will need someone who knows how to take what’s broken and either fix it, create a work around, or completely “build a better mousetrap”.
  • Templeton “Faceman” Peck-The Image Consultant.  When interviewing for most jobs, it is very important to dress the part and turn on the charm.  Having someone who has an eye for such things can be vital to interview success.  This is the person you’d want to perform a mock interview with.
  • H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock-The Dreamer.  When things don’t go according to plan, you can’t easily conceive of a work around, and your charm isn’t opening doors, you need an out of the box thinker who simply supports you without condition.  They don’t believe in impossible and can smile while the whole world is frowning.
  • Amy Amanda “Triple A” Allen-The Insider.  To round out your team, you are going to need someone who is connected or at least knows how to follow a trail to decision makers.  Having someone with the investigative flair is always helpful because if they don’t have an answer, chances are they can connect you to someone who does.

Now imagine how much easier your job search might go if you had such a team working with you.  As you already know, networking is often plays a very important role in a job search.  This post encourages to take it a step further and and go from networking to team-working.

Listen Attentively Respond Accordingly (LARA)

Posted in Communication, Interviewing, Job Search, Networking, Personal Brand, Social Media, Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Do you hear what I am saying?

Are you hearing what I am saying?

We are trying to start a new job search acronym that we hope goes viral and transforms interview rooms across America and maybe the world.  That acronym is LARA.  It stands for Listen Attentively Respond Accordingly and you can say you heard it hear first–unless you’ve heard it elsewhere.  If you did, please let me know because I googled it and was shocked not to find it somewhere in the first five pages.

I’m shocked because with all of the job tips out there, I believe that this one should be at the forefront of every candidate’s mind when they sit down for an interview.  After all, we are supposed to be in the age of communication.  We have all of the tools necessary to deliver a message, but they’re  all pointless if they are not received and no feedback is given.  Keeping LARA in mind can help prevent that.  Try it and see.

The next time you’re in a conversation make sure you’re doing your best to really listen to what the other person is saying.  If you’re not clear, ask for clarification and then respond to them in a way that conveys that you understood them and have given your answer some thought.  If this isn’t a common practice, you will notice immediate differences in people’s responses toward you.  You may also notice that there are a lot more barriers to communication than you may have been aware of previously.

The number one barrier you should be mindful of is assumptions.  As noted in the Breaking Down Barriers… article by  Aysha Schurman, “Effective communication can never take place if someone is busy making assumptions.”  However, there is a catch 22 when it comes to job interviews.  After all, a job interview is generally nothing less than a conversation based entirely on assumptions with the job description serving as an assumption checklist.  As a result, by not employing LARA, there can be an increased likelihood of miscommunications.  As a job seeker trying to get noticed and get hired, it usually falls on you to reposition the conversation so that your interviewer sees beyond the job description. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Address the major assumptions up front.  This creates a space for LARA to be effective.  Until they are addressed, assumptions will prevent meaningful value-added conversation from taking place.
  2. Introduce new information into the dialogue.  This gives everyone involved something to move on to after the “assumption checklist” is completed.
  3. Create your own assumptions with a well managed social media presence. If your profiles are reviewed, you can almost guarantee that your interview will be personalized rather than a standard plug and play format. (To learn more attend our free upcoming webinar.)
  4. Develop well thought out, open-ended questions that address the organization’s future in their industry. This is your chance to be the interviewer and demonstrate your ability to think strategically. This is LARA’s place in the sun. If you ask questions they never considered, they just may have to hire you to come up with an answer.

When it’s all said and done, full communication does not occur until what has been transmitted is received and confirmed through feedback.  Consider LARA to be the operator in this scenario.  As all of us have undoubtedly experienced–in job interviews and in life–there are times when what you believe you are saying is not what the recipient hears.   By employing LARA you can take command of the conversations you participate in and keep them on track.

What Goes Around

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Networking, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by therooflesschurch

Recruitment Cycle

In a market where 5 people are going after one job and consumer confidence continues to seesaw, achieving stability is going to take a little assistance from a lot of people.  As a result organizations like jobangels have emerged in response to this need.  Their organization has grown tremendously in a very short amount of time because they realize that–like the recruitment cycle shows–what goes around comes around.

Working in the recruitment field we get to see a lot  that people on the job market don’t get to see. And because JCSI’s operational structure is set up differently than most companies in our industry, we very often get to see more of the innerworkings of our client’s recruitment process than some of our contemporaries might.  When we partner with companies on a particular project, there are two things a candidate will know for certain.

  1. The company that hired us is commited to finding someone to join their team within a certain window.
  2. When you speak to someone from JCSI, we are contacting you on the direct authority of the client. (i.e. connecting with us is connecting with the client when we approach you about an opportunity)

This is important information if you are visiting this blog for job search insights because much of the information we provide here, in our webinars,  and other media is not simply an observation of the job market at hand.  Much of what we offer here is based on the continual feedback we receive from the clients we serve.  They tell us what they are looking for and we share that knowledge with the people we speak with and the visitors to our different sites and networks.

When times get tough, we know that small acts can go along way.  You never know when just one sentence, post, or tweet can make the difference in how someone approaches their job search or an interview.  They may not even remember where they picked it up, but it’s great to think that something we offer to the people we connect with may make the difference in whether they land that next position or not.

We consider these Small Acts of Recovery and it’s something everyone can contribute to.  It’s what makes social media the information powerhouse that it is.  People sharing what they know for the benefit of their friends, followers, and connections.  So if you have a Small Act of Recovery you’d like to share, we’d like to hear from you.  Just tweet us at @careerassist and include the tag #smallacts or visit the JCSI facebook page to share your thoughts.

Practicing To Be A Coworker

Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Networking, Uncategorized, Volunteering on August 10, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

I know it’s cliche, but a lot of times the job search turns out to be like playing a game. And though people don’t often think of it consciously, it is likely that most of  your time will be spent in practice than on actually playing the game. Just like in sports, the practice to game ratio usually works out that you will practice hours and hours for just a few minutes of  game time.  Just imagine how many times NBA players practice a shot before they actually take that shot in a live game.  Yet without the practice, how likely will they be to make the basket when it counts? 

With that in mind you may want to think about how you are preparing for your job interviews, but more than that, you may want to consider how you practice for the actual game of working with others.  Remember, just like those NBA players, you are never playing in a game alone. Depending on how long you’re on the job market, you may find yourself getting out of the practice of being a coworker–forgetting in fact that this is what you are ultimately working toward.  If you are neglecting this, you may that allowing your coworker skills to atrophy may prove critical when you are sitting in front of interviewers.

Sitting in a room practicing interview questions in the mirror and having your spouse ask you interview questions is not the same thing as a round table interview and hanging out with friends over dinner is not the same as being a co-worker.  The first day you become a new coworker could almost be considered the true final interview.  This will likely be the first time you meet the people that you will actually be working with and believe me, they are the real final say on whether or not your new company will be the place you want to spend most of your time.

So what are some ways that you can practice being a coworker before you actually land a job?  Well, the first one is obvious–volunteering.  Volunteering is the perfect way to stay in the groove while you’re on a job search and the best thing is there’s no awkward salary negotiation.  Unfortunately, most people feel volunteering takes away time that they could be spending on job hunting when it actually couldn’t be further from the truth.  To hear more on volunteering check out this post from Walter Feigenson entitled “Volunteering can help you on your job search.”

Another uncommon way that will put a little extra cash in your pocket as well is to go on sites like craigslist.org and sign up to do some small one or two day jobs. I did this once in Colorado and have been friends with one of my one day coworkers for almost 4 years now. 

Another way to work with others and keep your coworker skills fresh is to start a group at your church, local library, or community center.  The group can create connections over a common interest and it will give you the opportunity to work with others–which is what you are going for.  You will also be able to exchange ideas and maybe even make connections who can tell you about available jobs you would never know about otherwise.  Who knows?  But one things for certain, activities like these will help you stay in the coworker rhythm and ultimately that’s where you want to be.

Additional benefits of actively working to stay in the coworker rhythm will be your ability to interact with all types of people with very little pageantry.  Once you get good at meeting new people it will be very easy for people to instantly feel like they know you.  That can’t hurt when you are interviewing. And of course, there are many other ways besides the three mentioned that you may be able to stay in the coworker groove such as taking a continuing education class or organizing a neighborhood yardsale.  The point is to get out there, meet new people, and engage with them over new or mutual interests.  You’ll be surprised by the value it adds to your job search experience.

If you can think of any other ways to practice being a coworker, please feel free to comment here or email me at psilva@jcsi.net.

What Not to Expect From a Job Search

Posted in Hiring Managers, Job Search, Networking, Personal Brand, Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

At its core, the job search is a communication process.  It begins with a simple question like, “Where can I find a job that will allow me to make the best use of my present skills while accomodating my desire to grow professionally?” From there you begin having numerous conversations with people in and out of your network until one day you find your answer.  At the end, the opportunity you take may or may not match what you originally hoped for.  What determines that is the accuracy of the expectations you began with.

Deals are made when expectations align.  Until that point, the parties involved must be willing to paticipate in a dialogue and at least one party must be accomodating enough to alter their expectations to a certain degree.  It’s the nature of sales and it is the nature of the job search.  Many people forget this in their job search efforts and as a result they can find the whole process very discouraging.  Expectations can work for you and against you.  The key is to be flexible and–need we say–realistic.

Here are a few common expectations that people contend with when on a job search.  Give these some consideration as you work on finding work. 

  1. “No one is hiring, but I might as well try.”  This is a terrible way to start a job search and definitely will not work in your favor or any potential employers for that matter.  A lot people inaccurately believe that they can avoid disappointment by setting low expectations.  That doesn’t make sense.  This doesn’t avoid it, it just spreads it around.  If you do manage to land an interview, just think how disappointed a hiring manager will feel after spending their time with a person that doesn’t even seem to want the job.  They will be glad to see you go and won’t even consider you for the future. Make it your business to at least leave them with a smile.  You never know where it can take you.
  2. “Any company would be crazy not to hire me because I am worth every penny.” Confidence is attractive, cockiness is not.  There is a lot to be said for the power of positive thinking but, as many people have found, the job search can be particularly humbling for some people.  A lot has changed in the past few years.  Companies, like everyone, are trying to do more with less when they can and in many cases a position that would have paid $100k last year may be only willing to invest $85k for the same role today. This is just one factor among many to consider.  We’re not saying to not try to go for what you think you are worth.  Just remember that flexibility is your friend.
  3. “All I need to do is get on these social networking sites and I’ll snag a job.” How awesome would that be?  The fact is that while there may be some stories of lottery winners on the social sites, most of us are going to have to work for a living.  That means putting time into your online profiles is the only way it is going to bear fruit.  Give to the culture and it will give to you.  That’s the basic tenet.  Just posting, “I need a job” as your status update without ever contributing to the value of the communities is going to yield the same results in kind.  That’s just the way it is.
  4. “I have so many ‘friends’ on line that finding a job will be easy for me.”  When it comes to networking, the first thing you want to ask yourself is whether your house is made of brick or straw.  There are very few people that are able to maintain thousands or even hundreds of meaningful relationships.  And those who are able to do so have chosen to make it a lifestyle and not just when they need help.  So know which one you are, before you make this assumption.  Because as Einstein said, not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.

For more insight on this topic check out this blog on job search timing expectations from someone at Monster.com.