Archive for the Rejection 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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Cashing In On Psychic Income

Posted in Closure, Emotional Investments, Empowerment, Interview Secret, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Psychic Income, Rejection, Salesmanship, Uncategorized on November 10, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Not that kind of psychic.

In our September 14 posting, Managing Your Emotional Investments In A Job Search, we talked about the gambler’s fallacy as it relates to job hunting and offered some tips on how to navigate the waves of emotion that arise as you look toward securing your next job.  In this companion piece, we discuss psychic income, why it can sometimes be more valuable than any other currency, and how to know when to cash it in for opportunities.

In their book, Groundswell: Winning In a World Transformed By Social Technologies, Charlene Li* and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research discuss the phenomenon of psychic income–the intangible revenue or satisfaction that comes from participating in certain activities.  An example could be the feeling you gain from making a certain purchase or working on a project that calls upon your creative ability.   Because of my genuine interest in people, I derive psychic income from reading, writing, listening, and conversing on almost any topic.  So if it were not for bills, I’d do almost any job for free if it allowed for authentic engagement of some kind.  But because most of us do have bills, we’ll talk about the financial implications of psychic income.

In Groundswell, Jeff Stenski is attributed to have potentially saved Dell over $1 million simply by answering questions on Dell’s Community Forum.  Why has Jeff spent the equivalent of over 123 workdays a year on this forum answering questions about optical drives for free?  The answer of course is psychic income.  Jeff loves to contribute and this forum gives him an opportunity to do so.  As we mentioned in The Ultimate Interview Secret, there are rewards that come from seeking to contribute to your industry or area of expertise and these rewards can be cashed in.

For starters, as long as you are contributing, your skills will keep current.  This has tremendous value.  Added to this, in a depressed market, there is a definite value in engaging with people who have the ability to skillfully transfer their enthusiasm.  This is known as salesmanship and believe it or not, the purchases that we usually feel the best about are usually laden with the psychic income we earned from engaging with the salesperson.  In a world where we have global access to products and services, it is actually the psychic income embedded in those products and services that is the differentiator.  What do you think this information can do for your interviewing skills?

So knowing this, doesn’t it make sense to keep track of your psychic income just as well as you do of your financial income?  We think so.  That’s exactly why this blog exists.  As recruiters we know how taxing the job search can be for everyone involved.  With so many things to consider when making a hire, disproportionate amounts of psychic income can be strewn about with many feeling like they didn’t get the ROI they were hoping for.  Our goal with CareerAssist is to give back to the candidate pool for the time and energy they share with us when they talk to us about the opportunities with our clients.  It may not be the job they were hoping for, but we hope that it contributes in some way.

So if you take anything from this post–whether you are on the job market or engaging with someone who is–let it be this.  Psychic income is part and parcel of every relationship no matter how much time is involved.  So be wise in your deposits and withdrawals.

*Charlene Li has since become an independent thought leader and Founder of Altimeter Group.

How To Overcome The Need For Closure

Posted in Closure, Communication, Emotional Investments, Follow-up, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized, Whole-Part Whole on October 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Do you see a connection?

Do you see a connection?

This isn’t the first time that the subject of closure has come up on the JCSI CareerAssist blog.  In a previous post entitled Handling Non-acceptance, we told candidates not to focus on the things that they cannot change.  Sometimes you will not know why you were not chosen for a specific position and you will need to rely on assumptions to move forward.  Then in Managing Your Emotional Investments In a Job Search, we encouraged our readers to keep interviews in perspective.  Being attached to every opportunity can be mentally and emotionally draining and can rob you of a true opportunity when it comes around.

In this post, we are going to assume that the advice in the above mentioned posts didn’t quite stick.  Intellectually you understand that rejection isn’t personal.  You can even see how the concept of leaving the interview at the interview would reduce some stress.  But at the end of the day you still find yourself waiting by the phone to hear back from a potential employer unable to breathe until they let you know one way or the other.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, then read on.

In order to make sense out of the need for closure, it may help to know that our brains are actually wired to see relationships holistically.  As the shapes above show, we tend to see things in wholes instead of individual parts.  Most people would describe the shapes as a circle and a square with missing pieces  rather than a bunch of disconnected lines.  This is known as Gestalt Psychology.

Translated to the job search, this means that when we speak to someone about an opportunity we are going to automatically expect it to come “full circle”–pun intended.  When it doesn’t, our brains tell us that something is missing and this is considered a psychological threat.  What happens in many cases is that we assume that we have somehow caused the “missing” piece by lacking in some way.

In order to overcome this, we must be able to see the stages of recruitment as “whole-parts”.  Based on the Whole Part Whole (WPW) Method used in some sports training  and other modalities, the participant is trained to see that each component is a whole within itself.  An example from basketball would be that while the ability to shoot free throws are a part of a game, the ability to shoot free throws is also a skill on its own.  In other words, an interview is part of getting a job, but it is also just an interview.

If you are following this logic, then you can see how “leaving the interview at the interview” is possible.  This is accomplished by:

  • Seeing the whole.  The big picture.  In other words finding a job. 
  • Gaining an understanding of how the parts relate to the whole. These are considered “whole-parts”. Phone Screens, phone interviews, f2f interviews (how many rounds?), etc.  Ask your recruiter for more information.
  • Focus on developing your skills in each “whole-part”. Phone presence, f2f interview skills, follow-up skills, etc.
  • Approach each “whole-part” as a singular event.  An interview serves its purpose in real time without being seen as making or breaking the opportunity.  The goal is to have an excellent interview experience.
  • When reviewing the event, keep it in perspective.  Don’t think how you can stop losing opportunities. Concentrate on developing your “whole-part” skills.
  • Realize that it all comes together in the end.  If you excel in your “whole-part” skills then the whole picture will eventually come together.

As you can see, overcoming the need for closure is more about what not to do than it is about doing  some technique.  The key is to keep the “whole-parts” in perspective.  By seeing the “Whole-Part Whole”, closure is integrated into the process as it moves step by step.  Seeing the process this way reduces stress by releasing candidates from carrying the burden of their entire futures into every recruitment engagement.

Rules of Engagement In a Job Search

Posted in Interviewing, Job Search, Rejection, Rules of Engagement, Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

In military terms, the Rules of Engagement determine when and how much force should be applied to a given situation.  The amount of force applied varies with increasing intensity depending on the level of resistance that the troops are coming up against.  An example of how to respond to a level 3 resistance according to the US Marines’ ROE goes as follows:

Level 3: Resistant (Active). The subject initially demonstrates physical resistance. Use compliance techniques to control the situation. Level three incorporates close combat techniques to physically force a subject to comply. Techniques include: Come-along holds, Soft-handed stunning blows, Pain compliance through the use of joint manipulation and the use of pressure points.  

The Rules of Engagement are designed to create a degree of consistency and order in a situation with the potential to go out of control.  When used appropriately, these rules allow soldiers to leverage a situation with the most agreeable outcome–which is to avoid or minimize injuries and casualties on both sides.  When not mastered, however, these same rules can increase the risk of hesitation when action is required or misread cues may lead to the use of excessive force when it is uncalled for. 

At this point, you may be thinking that this is great information if you are ever in combat, but perhaps not so useful in your job search.  However, if you have ever done any sales–and we all have in some way–then you may recognize the relationship between ROE and techniques for overcoming objections.  Herein lies the connection to your job search.

If you didn’t know it already, the day you enter the job market, you’ve also entered the world of sales.  You are putting your skills and talents on the market and you are asking for a certain price.  That’s sales.  As soon as you start selling, you find that objections are a natural part of the process.  Objections are resistance.  And when you come to resistance, you will be best served by having your own Rules of Engagement.  Otherwise, what could be simple objections can turn into a pattern of rejection.

To help you along we’re going to offer some suggestions on how to develop your own ROE.

  1. Look for patterns. If it walks like a duck…  If you notice the same objections repeatedly, add a new dimension. Change your response. You may not get the results you were looking for, but it won’t be what you’ve had in the past either.
  2. Question your reality. Many people see filling a position as the final destination, when it’s actually the starting gate.  If you realize that you or your interviewer thinks this way, this is a good time to ask about where the company is headed.  Like the Marines’ “Come Along Hold”,  a well placed question can shift the direction of an interview.
  3. Go on the offensive. The job market is a game.  That means there’s an offense and defense.  Realize that you are interviewing because the company is trying to go somewhere and they are looking for people to help them get there. They are looking for people who will get on the field and play.

Creating your own Rules of Engagement will help give you a sense of where you are in an interview and what you may need to add to the setting in order to keep engaged.  All ROE are as unique as the person or group applying them, so you have to create rules that fit you best.  Just remember that these rules are guidelines that the other party is not aware of.  So stay conscious that the operative word in ROE is ENGAGEMENT.  Following ROE is meant to help you stay engaged and not to replace it.  That means engage the person, not the rules.

Managing Your Emotional Investments In A Job Search

Posted in Emotional Investments, Interviewing, Job Search, Rejection, Uncategorized on September 14, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
What are my chances?

What are my chances?

You just walked out of your third interview with XYZ Company.  It ended with lunch at a fancy restaurant with the CFO, a Director, and a manager.  Everyone was smiling as you shook hands and said farewell. And to top it off, the last thing that the CFO said to you was, “We’ll be in touch.”  You’re feeling pretty good.  In fact, you feel great. Based on the number of interviews and the reactions from the people you’ve met so far, you feel that you can safely say that the odds are in your favor. If anyone asked, you’d say that you have about a ninety percent chance or better of getting this job. 

Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever had that feeling of “almost certainty” only to find yourself “totally disappointed” at the outcome?  If so, you have something in common with most job seekers.  What you’ve just experienced is the result of gambler’s fallacy.  To put it simply, gambler’s fallacy is the belief that increased occurences = increased likelihood of a particular outcome.  For example, most job seekers believe that the more interviews you get, the closer you are to getting the job. 

This makes sense if you’re using pass-fail logic like we’re taught in school or what’s reinforced in video games.  In those scenarios, if you get a certain number of points you automatically move to the next level. This is not the case when you are going for a job.  On the job market, it doesn’t matter how many interviews you have or how many people you meet. Until you sign an offer letter, your chances of landing the position will always be 50/50.  You will either get a name plate for your new cubicle or you won’t.  Any thought otherwise is purely based on your degree of emotional investment.

The truth is that when six people are going after only one job, only one person is going to get the “A” so to speak–unlike in school or on a video game where anyone can make the grade.  Because most people never meet the others who are interviewing for the same position, they tend to only consider their own efforts using the above mentioned logic.  As a result they are more likely to look for signs of approval from those they interview with since they cannot gauge their position by looking at the other candidates.  This leaves the door open for the gambler’s fallacy to enter and consequently, a disproportionate emotional investment is usually made.

So, why do we consistently make these inaccurate emotional investments when it comes to job opportunities?  Well to paraphrase H.L. Mencken,  we do not often get pleasure out of certain ideas because we believe they are true.  We believe ideas are true because we get pleasure out of them.  In other words, we get caught up in these beliefs because it feels good to believe them.  Like imagining what we would do if we won the lottery, imagining landing that job feels exciting and liberating.

The problem is that emotional investments are beliefs and we all know what happens when beliefs are shattered.  To get a sense of it, just think about how we respond to the news that one of our heroes has turned out to be very human.  We feel devastated.  The same thing happens when we find out we didn’t get that job we thought we were so close to snagging.  That’s why it is especially important to remember to not fall for the gambler’s fallacy.  Some other ways to manage your emotional investments when on a job search are to:

  1. Focus on the elements that you can directly influence.  You can only  influence areas such as preparation, your online and in person networking, the amount of research you do on the company, your training and other education, etc.
  2. Leave the interview at the interview. Unless you videotaped your interview, it will only deteriorate in your memory as time goes on.  The best use of your energy at this point will be to continue developing yourself.  If you are called for further interviews you’ll be ready.
  3. Determine your own gauges for success/progress. You cannot rely on getting the job as  your gauge of interview success.  There are simply too many factors beyond your control. Instead, choose something that is solely determined by you such as listening more, asking more questions, or getting less nervous.  By doing this you will always be on the lookout for where you are improving rather than where you went wrong.

The job search can be a challenge in any economy and the above considerations will always apply. When you make the appropriate emotional investments, you remain empowered throughout your job search and that offers the best ROI you can find on the market.

Handling Non-acceptance

Posted in Hiring Managers, Job Search, Rejection, Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

When it becomes clear to most people that they were not accepted for an opportunity they were hoping for their first instinct is to feel rejected. It tears into their self esteem and it takes away some of the momentum vital to a successful job search. Understanding  that there are inherent challenges to finding and securing an ideal opportunity, we’d like to offer an alternate way to look at your job search.  Rather than seeing yourself as rejected, try thinking that they just simply accepted someone else. 

Of course, because human beings are social by nature, it is quite normal to feel the sting of a group not choosing to include you.  In more tribal times, rejection by our group threatened our survival and despite the do-it-yourself world we now inhabit, some of that still lingers. 

So how can we overcome this feeling when we are out there hunting for a job and are feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  Well the first step is to realize that you cannot be rejected by someone who does not know you.  If that statement is unclear, look at it this way.  Have you ever met someone who says that they don’t like a food that they’ve never tasted?  Enough said.  It may sound strange, but true rejection is something you earn over time.  In the case of not landing the job, it can just be circumstantial, timing,  or just the fact that someone else more suitable was accepted.  Either way, it’s not personal even if it feels that way.

Now here are some steps you can take to turn your focus away from feeling rejected and towards thinking acceptance.

  1. Watch the news sparingly. This doesn’t count if you are trying to check the winning lotto numbers, but other than that, choose your news wisely.  If you notice that you feel less energized by watching the news, turn it off.  Now isn’t the time to feel low.  Just think about it this way.  If the news is bad enough someone is going to warn you about it and if it is good news, it won’t get much coverage in the mainstream anyway. So instead of watching the news to confirm your worst fears, look for information that is going to add value to your day and to the people you encounter on your job search.
  2. Stop taking the outcome personally. As I mentioned above, true rejection is something you earn over time.  Unless you worked for them before, a company does not have enough information to reject “you”.  It is akin to someone you met once  or twice at a networking event not staying in touch.  It’s rarely you.  Making a hire is a tough decision and in most cases there’s only one opening.  Most people aren’t getting hired for it.  You’re part of the crowd.  If you are making enough of an impact to earn a personal rejection by everyone you meet then you are going to need to hire someone to help you.
  3. Focus on the things you can change. Chances are that whether the company calls to let you know their decision or not, you will eventually have to move on and you won’t be able to change their minds. This means you are going to have to rely on your assumptions for feedback.  So assume, that if you are certain that you were qualified for the position but you did not get a second interview, then your presentation did not communicate this effectively.  What can you do about it?  If you made it through numerous rounds of interviews and didn’t get hired, you can assume that it is not your presentation skills, but rather the person hired seemed to be a “better fit”. It’s probably only a matter of time for you, but you could work on showing your openness. Work on radiating a welcoming presence.  What steps can you take?
  4. Become a cheerleader.  This is serious. When you hear other people’s good news, allow yourself to get excited about it.  If you can let other people’s bad news take you down, why can’t you let their good news lift you up?  When you hear about someone getting a job, see it as a sign that things are picking up.  Ask them about their experience and genuinely listen.  The more people you congratulate on their success the better you will feel and if you can help them succeed then even better.  Someone will remember it when you least expect it.
  5. Choose to be bettered by this experience. This mindset may not put money in your pocket immediately, but it will pay dividends over time.  No one can stop you from learning but you.  Start a journal if you need to, like Tim Johnston in Diary of a Job Search.  Become an expert in what it takes to manage a job search and then share it with others. You never know where it can lead you and at a minimum it will reduce or eliminate the lethargy common to typical “post and hope” job searches.
  6. Get the word “rejection” out of your mouth and out of your mind.  Notice that this post is titled Handling Non-acceptance.  The fact is for any given position, someone is going to be accepted.  Everyone else is not accepted.  If you choose a meal off of a menu are you truly rejecting all of the other entrees.  No you are not.  You are accepting one of them.  This simple shift in perception can actually change your entire attitude over time.  You will be able to go into an interview and say to yourself, “someone is getting accepted for this position and it may as well be me.”  Who knows, you might be right.  It definitely beats thinking, “I can’t handle another rejection.  Please pick me.”  Which of those two mindsets is more empowering?