Tag Archives: Career services

Are you like me? – Hired!

47046radwp3g3moIt’s probably happened to you a hundred times: you go to a major store, hoping to find that specific item you’re after, and you have to walk away disappointed. Either the item was not available or, most likely, you were looking for something uncommon or unusual that the store didn’t have. Such a scenario often occurs in interview situations: You as a candidate seemed very prepared, and when someone asks you later how the interview went, you reply positively and with confidence. After all, you have every required skill the interviewer was looking for, you have plenty of experience, and you were able to answer smartly all of the interviewer’s questions. So, why didn’t you hear back? What went wrong?

The answers to those questions are repeats of answers to the shopping situation—when you couldn’t find that specific item. Evidently, the interviewer, too, was looking for something specific that you did not surface and demonstrate. In this case, it’s likely the interviewer was looking for something totally unrelated to skills or experience. So, what is that something and how can the interviewer find out you have it?

It’s all about compatibility, or so-called chemistry, which is a very heavily weighted element in the hirer’s decision-making process. Many call it the fit factor, and it could easily be by far the decisive issue in the entire interview. As a career coach, I work with my clients and prepare them to learn to how to “read” interviewers so they can discern that fit factor.

There are many well-known, documented, and respected studies about types of people. Some of the studies find that if a candidate is unable to align with the interviewer—sometimes an impossibility—then the chances of being considered for the position are minimized. That’s the reason someone else gets the job.

You may have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DISC assessment, and other personality tests. I’m familiar with another, called MBS, or Management By Strengths. The MBS Survey is a self-assessment that attempts to align relationships and communications between parties. It deals with understanding the decision-making process, whether the process is based on facts or on gut feelings. For more information on the MBS test of personality type, visit www.strengths.com.

In summary, in an interview situation it’s hugely to your benefit if you’re able to “read” the interviewer and adapt to the interviewer’s style, because it’s well-known that hirers like to hire people like themselves.

 

In Transition? Confused? What’s Next?

free_2920672The vast majority of my career coaching involves clients who contact me while they’re feeling perplexed about their personal circumstances. About 70 percent of them have been out of work for some time, and the rest only recently became jobless. Some of them are desperate to make a change because of a difficult boss or too much pressure on the job. Can you identify with this? All of these people have one thing in common: confusion over how to go about making it happen. Most of them are adjusting their résumés but deploying the same techniques that got them jobs in the past. However, that doesn’t work in today’s extreme job market. Many ask for advice from well-meaning friends. Unfortunately, they’re only friends desiring to help but not professionals with expertise.

Regrettably, even career coaches don’t have all of the desired solutions, but they know how to go about finding them. After years of experience and dozens of clients, I became able to put together a straightforward plan that appears to be working. The material that needs to be covered during coaching sessions is vast. In addition to that, I found out from experience that it takes a minimum of three to five hours of mock interviewing for a client to get sufficient practice and become proficient at interviewing. It’s an absolute necessity to be capable of showing the hiring manager that you have not only the knowledge but also the confidence to do the job well. After all, what hiring manager sets out to hire someone who appears to be lacking confidence?

Typically, I meet with a client five times. Each session is at least two hours long, and the second hour of each is devoted to practicing mock interviews. The first session is dedicated to agreeing on career plan objectives, creating a strategy, and defining target jobs in the right salary range, geography, industry, and sector. The second session focuses on the résumé. The objective here is to make it billboardlike attractive. The résumé has to have eye appeal, contain the right keywords, and show that the candidate will deliver. By now the client possesses the right tools.

The third session focuses on job search. Together we work not only on networking techniques but also on making sure the techniques are effective and not a waste of time. At this point, we are also practicing how to overcome liabilities, and we’re developing tools to track and measure job search productivity. The fourth session is all about communication and projecting the right image verbally—both in writing and over the Internet. We wrap up the process by practicing mock negotiation techniques, acquiring the tools for working with recruiters, and learning to uncover the hidden job market.

This is career coaching in a nutshell. An actual career coaching program is rigorous and systematic and requires persistence and a lot of hard work. Given a little time, in most cases it works.

 

 

What can we learn from watching the Crystal Ball?

9imagesLast night I read a magazine on which issue the front page has a heading “The Permanent Temporary Workforce”.  Their in-depth section The Disposable Worker highlights several facts.  Most of them are expressing the negativity that currently exists in the labor market.  “Since the early ‘80s, the US economy has been taking longer to regain all the jobs lost in a downturn”.  Companies are hedging their bets by hiring temps instead a steady workforce.  And this trend will likely continue similar to Europe which makes a lot more use of temporary and part-time workers.  It mentions also that 26% of working Americans have “non-standard” jobs. These are those that work less than 35 hours per week, independent contractors, on-call workers or day laborers.  The article talks about “labor on demand” and this is on all levels and not only low paying jobs.  Because of these conditions Americans are willing to accept lower pay.  All in all the current conditions are gloomy but let’s focus now on the positive.  The article is predicting that as soon as the economy will show signs of improvement the better employees will jump ship to a company that pays better.  This will lead to openings and opportunities.  The long term prediction is that a decade from now the retirement of the baby boomers could cause labor shortages which again lead to opportunities.  It is important for jobseekers to understand the big picture but they need jobs now and not in the next decade.  So what are they to do?  Because of the tough competition the answer is not simple.  Since most jobs come through networking therefore more and more networking is the answer.  But here I am not talking quantity but quality.  People need to become more sophisticated with their job search.  They also need to learn how to benefit from the fast-evolving social media.  If you don’t buy into these concepts then somebody else will.  Could you guess who is going to get a job faster?