Archive for the Rules of Engagement Category

Companies Have Feelings Too

Posted in Communication, Interviewing, Job Search, Rules of Engagement on December 11, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

On December 9, 2009 we hosted a webinar entitled, “The Anatomy of the Interview Process“.  During the presentation we discussed how a company’s interview process is their formalized relationship building practice.  Our goal was to convey to job seekers the fact that like all relationships, the interview process is designed to evolve in stages.  Therefore, a key contributor to interviewing success is respect for the process.

To illustrate these stages we loosely compared the interview process to the stages of forming a long term romantic relationship.  These stages were labeled as:

  • The Screening  –  “The Interest Building Stage”
  • The Telephone Interview  –  “The Curiosity Stage”
  • First Round Interview  –  “The Present Compatibility Stage”
  • Second Round Interview  –  “The Future Compatibility Stage”
  • Final Interview  –  “The Proposal”
  • The Offer  –  “The Confirmation”
  • The Trial Period  –  “The Honeymoon”

We understand that when people are on the job market, interviewing can feel like a “David and Goliath” situation, but when it comes down to David won.  When you interview, keep in mind that it is a meeting between equals.  The company has a problem and they are hoping that you are the solution.  If you feel that you are, help them to see it.  You can’t do that if you are hiding behind a fear that they will reject you, nor can you be clear if you don’t realize that their process is meant to protect them from making a hiring mistake.

It’s all about relationships and we all know what it is like to learn lessons from previous relationships.  Well companies do too and often times their interview process reflects that.  To go a little deeper, let’s explore some hypothetical situations that can hurt a companies feelings.

Long Commute – Long distance relationships are hard.  We’ve tried them before and had an unpleasant experience. One of our best employees left us for a company closer to home.  It was hard to see them go.  Since then we are only interested in people within a certain mile radius.

Too Much Pay – “More attractive” offers are hard to pass up.  We once hired someone who was “willing to take a considerable pay cut for the opportunity to be a part of our company”.  Three months in she was offered a deal that was an increase on her previous salary.  That put us behind on a critical project.  Now we only look at people that have salaries within our range or are extremely close.

Career Level – We once hired a Sr. VP who “longed to return to his individual contributor days”.  From the first day there were challenges.  He had no patience for his coworkers with less experience and tried to assume the lead on every project he was a part of.  Despite his talent, we had to let him go for morale reasons.  From now on we pay attention to the previous roles our candidates have held.

Former Employees –  We once hired a former employee who left the company for a better deal. Three years later she applied and was hired for a position similar to the one she held previously. By six months it was obvious that she wasn’t happy.  She cited that the company was not as she remembered it.  Now we treat hiring former employees very delicately. 

We hope that stories told in this context will help job seekers see the human element of the interview process.  Understanding that a lot of the decisions made in the hiring process are not personal cannot only help you to stay motivated throughout your job search, it can also empower you to address the circumstances from the company’s point of view.  That’s engagement–something you should always be mindful of when building relationships.

If you’d like to hear more insight on subtleties of the interview process visit the links below from our webinar:


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.