Tag Archives: Career advisor

It’s Counterintuitive for Job Seekers

Photo credit to digitalart.com

Photo credit to digitalart.com

It would be interesting to review a few perceptions that job seekers have on issues stemming from feelings rather than from thinking. Such perceptions are based more on gut feelings rather than logic. Examples follow.

The interview is about me.

People feel good when asked to come in and interview, because they think the interview is about them. In fact, it is not. The interview is about the interviewer’s needs and the interviewer’s competitive evaluation process that considers the candidate’s ability to provide what the interviewer needs.

Accept LinkedIn invitations only from people you know.

When in transition, it’s not about whom you know so much as it is who knows you. After all, it’s you who is looking for a job. And the more connections you have, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you’re hiding in a box, no one will find you.

Create your own résumé.

People in transition need to preserve their savings, and so many compose their own résumés, which eventually get changed or edited or rewritten by others equally unqualified yet willing to help. The typical outcome is a less than competitive résumé that generates very few or no bites. The best advice, therefore, is to hire a trusted and recommended professional, certified, and experienced résumé writer. A less expensive solution—provided you’re absolutely certain your résumé is a good one—is to have it edited by a professional editor. Such an editor or resume writer knows what sells and would put that knowledge and expertise to work for you. And yes, the good ones are not inexpensive.

No need to tell family about being in transition.

Many people feel uneasy or embarrassed about revealing too many details of their transition. That’s a big mistake, because family and friends really are the people who will go out of their way to be of help.

No need to pay for career coaching.

Again, like with the résumé, people want to preserve their savings and do not want to spend on professional help such as experienced career coaches. This too is a huge mistake. A career coach will not only shorten the in-transition period but also teach you pertinent interviewing skills as well as how to negotiate a job offer. In most cases, fees spent on career coaching are dwarfed by the benefits gained from knowing how to negotiate a better compensation package.

Focus only on your past career path and ignore other possibilities.

In today’s fast-changing business environment, new jobs are being invented every day, and many of the past’s traditional jobs are morphing into new ones or becoming totally eliminated. Job seekers who do not consider job opportunities in fields unrelated to their past ones make a mistake. Some reach a point—possibly because of age discrimination or the elimination of their traditional jobs—at which a change in career might be a wonderful solution. It worked for me extremely well.

Employee Turnover Is Very Costly but Creates New Opportunities

Getty photo

Getty photo

Years ago, longevity on the job was valued. It was a two-way relationship based on mutual trust and loyalty. Now, the coin has flipped to the other side. Employers view what some of them call “their most important asset” as no more than a printed circuit board in an electronic device: when the assets are needed, they get plugged in; and when obsolete or malfunctioning, they get discarded or replaced. That attitude generates an underlying mutual distrust leading to high turnover. And besides the emotional damage—caused primarily to the employee—that flipped coin is very costly to employers.

Good interviewing and careful selection processes can reduce those significant expenses.

The hiring process can be logically separated into two steps. The first step involves the selection of several—say, five—top candidates to be called in for an interview for a particular job. Typically, the selections are accomplished via an applicant-tracking system, which scores candidates’ résumés based on their use of keywords the employer considers relevant. The system does not guarantee that the best candidates will be chosen. In any case, of those selected, one of them will get the job because of sharp interviewing skills. Again, this system does not ensure selection of the best candidate. It only isolates someone who appears to be better than the others.

Unfortunately, most hiring managers and nonprofessional interviewers do not know how to interview effectively. The majority of them never took even one course on the subject of interviewing. They almost don’t even know what questions to ask, and they’re even less able to interpret the answers. So, to save money, companies should mandate that those participating in the selection of new employees get formal education and training on the subject. This would represent a good return on investment. A productive employee who stays with an employer and grows on the job is a best practice.

Studies reveal that three-quarters of workers in the United States make less than $50,000 annually. The average cost of replacing an employee in this group comes to 21% of the employee’s salary. The replacement cost of an employee earning $75,000 annually is 10 to 30% of the employee’s salary. And the replacement cost of high-level executives is very significant—many tens of thousands of dollars.

Employee replacement costs fall into two categories: direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs include severance pay, outplacement services, and higher unemployment taxes. In addition, there’s sometimes the cost of temporary replacement as well as fees all over the place for advertising, search agencies, screening, physical exams, drug testing, background verifications, interview travel expenses, and, at times, relocation. The other, indirect costs include loss of productivity, the learning curve of the new employee, reduced morale, and, too often, loss of the knowledge vested in the employee who is leaving.

For Those in Transition, Not Knowing Hurts the Most

1 imagesAs a career coach who sees people in transition every day, I’ve concluded that the single biggest obstacle for people in transition is not knowing what they don’t know regarding what it takes to win that fierce competition for getting a decent job.

I don’t intend to blame anyone; I’m merely pointing out the fact. When people become part of the in-transition crowd, they also become numb and find themselves in a state of disbelief. Given some time, reality sets in and they know that family priorities and financial obligations need to be met, so they step out from their shells and attempt to become productive.

They remember from the previous job search the steps needed to be taken to get a job offer. Regrettably, though, the rules of the game have changed–and so drastically that the old rules are no longer valid in any sense. For instance, technology has advanced to the point that the job search game is almost totally dependent on it. Plus, résumés are constructed differently from the way they used to be. They need to be tailored to the specific job the person is applying for.

LinkedIn is the most common electronic tool used by recruiters. A poor image on LinkedIn kicks a candidate out of the competition. And there’s where the problem starts. As I said at the beginning, job seekers don’t know what they don’t know, and so it follows that they don’t know how to improve their condition. What is evident is that it seems to take forever to get an interview–if at all. And then the competition among interviewees is fierce. Only one person of very many is offered the job; the rest feel like losers, and typically, they’re not told why they didn’t get an offer.

So, what’s the solution? My advice is to seek help. There are many job search networking groups that hold meetings where speakers are brought in to provide information pertinent to job search. In addition, job seekers who attend such meetings exchange information with each other, and there often is support by career coaches and counselors. Approach a career coach at a networking meeting to learn what he or she can do for you. You’ll probably get answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask! A current–and comprehensive–list of such groups within a 100-mile radius of New York can be downloaded from Web site www.landingexpert.com via the Networking tab.