Tag Archives: Career coaching

Do You Want a Job or the Right Job?

Do You Want a Job or the Right Job?

You want a great job and not any job.

Do you want a job or the right job?  This a great question.  As a career coach, I talk mostly with two kinds of people: employed or in transition to another job. Sadly, people in both groups have one thing in common: most of them are unhappy. For those in transition, the unhappiness is self-explanatory, but why such a high level of unhappiness for those who are lucky to have an employer?

Several recent articles cover this subject. People who still work spend longer hours at it, and they face higher levels of stress. There’s no question that employee satisfaction is at an all-time low and that it has an impact on people’s health as well as relationships with family and friends.

A study found that in the United States, 55% of employees were not satisfied with their jobs! This is the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded, and the trend toward such dissatisfaction has strengthened steadily in the past 25 years. That means that unhappiness in the workplace is not directly related to the current economic downturn.

Unhappiness at work is not isolated. Unfortunately, it affects not only the unhappy people themselves but also those surrounding them. A recent Swedish study found a direct link between one’s relationship with one’s manager and the impact that that relationship has on one’s health: men who had toxic supervisors increased their risk of heart attack by 50%. A different study revealed that people of average height who felt unhappy at work added as much as five pounds to their weight.

A different, long-term study dealing with the impact of unhappiness at work confirmed that there is a strong correlation between one’s job satisfaction and one’s life satisfaction. Clearly, our thoughts, our emotions, and our performance on the job affect our behaviors away from the job and thus are affecting our loved ones.

What a job seeker can learn from all this is that it is of utmost importance to find out about a company’s culture, about the work conditions there, and as much as possible about the person one will report to before accepting the job. The sad—but practical—part is that even if one gets a great job at a great company with a great boss, in today’s economy things change so fast, and many of those changes are totally out of the control of the employee. So, what does one need so that work life harmonizes relationships and doesn’t destroy them? Luck—lots of it.

How the Illogical Process of Hiring Can Help YOU

Photo credit to Stuart Miles

Photo credit to Stuart Miles

So, finally, you receive a call to schedule an interview.

All your efforts have paid off. A person calls you to schedule another interview. This is a huge compliment! You were selected from dozens or, at times, hundreds of people who applied for the very same position. You typically feel elated on one hand and apprehensive on the other. The reason is clear. You know that the real test lies in the interview process.

Even if you think you interview well (because you’ve gotten jobs in the past!), the interview represents a big challenge. Over the past several years, the business climate has changed dramatically, and at the same time, the market has gotten flooded with highly qualified candidates. Interviewing is a skill that can be improved through hard work and preparation. There are so many applicants for only one opening that the process has become extremely competitive. You need to outshine your competition. Unless you kept your job search skills honed in on job market developments, you’ll most likely need to improve in this area.

So, what to do? You can do your own research and preparation via the Internet. Millions do so, but that process can take weeks or even months. Instead, you could hire a career coach! The career coach’s job is to prepare you for the upcoming competition. Such coaching will shorten your search as well as teach you how to do things right and how to avoid making costly or even, at times, fatal mistakes. The coach might also assist you in negotiating a better compensation package, which will more than make up for what you paid for coaching services.

Think of it in terms of sports: All professional athletes have coaches even though professional athletes are highly skilled. Why is this? Since the coach has no bias, he will point out to you not only your strong points but also your areas needing improvement. He will guide you to attainment of your goal.

What’s important to the hiring manager?

A hiring manager considers several factors. For example, he will review your professional background and your career progression. He’s also going to question your accomplishments as described on your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on those accomplishments once prompted in your interview. In addition, of course, your education and credentials will likely weigh heavily.

It is a huge plus for you if you were referred by a trusted source. Why is that? It’s because the roles in the interview process are well defined: This is a transaction between you and the hiring manager. You are tantamount to a salesperson with the intent to sell yourself. The hiring manager is the buyer. His job is to select among several salesperson candidates. He is not inclined to buy everything the salesperson wants to sell. However, if a trusted person recommended you, then the hiring manager’s scrutiny is significantly minimized, thus dramatically increasing your chances of being hired.

What happens at an interview?

In preparing for a big interview, it might be helpful to take on the mind-set of someone who has just finished one. After an interview is over, you will have many questions in your mind: How did you do? Were you able to provide the right answers? Defend your liabilities? And convince the hiring manager that in your past positions you not only did what he needs done but, more important, also did it successfully? Was that job performance successful because you said so? Or because it was recognized by others? Recognition by others is what convinces a hiring manager that you performed with distinction.

Once the interview is over, you must follow up. Your thank-you letter should address any questions the interviewer may have about your candidacy. It’s up to you to find out what they are. When you’re asked, “So, do you have any questions for me?” ask the interviewer about your candidacy for the position. After all of this, the only big issue remaining to be addressed is whether you’d fit harmoniously into the organization. This fit issue has a lot to do with the chemistry between a candidate and a hiring manager.

So, why is the hiring process illogical?

As you can see, today’s hiring process is lengthy. A candidate uses logic throughout the application process, but the involvement of many people over such a long time can sometimes lead to an illogical result. Furthermore, in most of the cases of rejection, the truth is not revealed to the candidate because of the potential trigger of a lawsuit. Therefore, the only logical conclusion from the candidate’s point of view is that the process is illogical. However, an understanding of the entire process can equip you and help you through.

How an Informational Interview Can Lead to a Job

Getty photo

Getty photo

The real danger hovering over the heads of some people in transition is the fact that they’re headed toward a cul-de-sac and don’t even know it. More and more articles point out that the business world is changing rapidly; new jobs are being created; and some old jobs are fading away. Regrettably, the jobs being eliminated do not appear on major publications’ front pages to announce that fact. The elimination of jobs does not happen universally everywhere at the same time. The symptoms that such a thing is happening get validated via an endless job search. And that’s where the danger comes in.

For people who experience long job searches, it’s good practice to (1) keep their eyes open for opportunities for related careers that would use their transferable skills or (2) look in a new direction all together. To facilitate that, they can consider searching for new venues via informational interviews. They shouldn’t make the mistake of asking for an informational interview only as an excuse to get in while in reality looking for a position that may be open. While the objective of a candidate in a job interview is to sell himself, the primary objective of an informational interview is to explore opportunities for a change in career. Via an informational interview, one can learn about the pros and the cons of that job, find out what skills are mandatory in order to be successful, what kind of training is required, what is the typical career path and what kind of compensation ranges are customary for a debutant.

If you’re interested in having an informational interview, you should try to schedule it during the day at a mutually convenient time. Most often, you’ll be invited to the organization’s office. Make sure you’re attired properly for the occasion. And remember that this is not a job interview. Forget the suit with the white shirt and tie. Make sure from the get-go that you’re not sending the wrong message. It would look very professional if you come prepared with questions and, possibly, an agenda that you prepared ahead of time. Feel free to take notes to the extent that that’s helpful to you. It is expected that you’ll of course be courteous toward your host, so to begin with, turn off your mobile phone!

You should set a time frame for this informational interview, and when the time is up, you should prepare to leave. An informational interview should be a dialogue wherein you’re mainly listening and the other party is talking. After all, that’s the whole purpose. And of course, a nice thank-you letter following the meeting is more than appropriate: it’s a must.

An informational interview can provide a wealth of knowledge for someone who wants to migrate to a different field. And oftentimes, a host can become so impressed with the candidate that eventually such a meeting could evolve into a full-time position. Go for it. Don’t expect that someone will drop a wonderful position in your lap.