THR Partners, Executive Search Firm specializing in the HVAC, Appliance, and Commercial Restaurant Equipment Industries
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The interview process can be extremely frustrating when days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. The average hiring process is currently 5 – 7 weeks for direct positions. This can be extremely frustrating when you are interviewed at the beginning of the interview process, or when unexpected delays can add additional time until a decision is reached.
Consider for a moment the actions that must be taken before an offer is extended. A Job Description is written, a budget is set for the compensation package, the job is posted internally, resources are utilized to identify potential candidates, often the job is listed on websites or job boards, resumes are reviewed, initial interviews are scheduled, references are checked, subsequent interviews are scheduled, often assessment tests are administered, background or credit checks are conducted, final interviews are conducted and then an offer is extended.
There are times when priorities change and the hire is put on a back burner which delays the interview process. There are times when the company determines they will not fill the open position. There are times when a currently employee refers someone for the job and does their best to make sure their referral is hired. There is always competition for any opportunity you are pursuing.
It is for these reasons that you must actively conduct your job search, even if you are anticipating a job offer. Scheduling interviews should be your primary focus, whether they are job interviews or informational interviews. As you increase the number of interviews you schedule, you also increase the likelihood that you will receive more than one job offer.
If you want to improve your networking efforts, it is important to learn how to work a room or event. Each time you find yourself in a group setting, there are endless networking opportunities. The following offers answers to common questions being asked by job seekers:
Question: HOW TO I APPROACH PEOPLE?
Answer: Approach people who are standing alone or in a smaller group. Smile and ask if you can join them and comment on something you have in common.
Question: HOW DO I BECOME MEMORABLE?
Answer: It’s important to be lighthearted, fun and share interesting stories. You should be energetic, a great listener and engaging.
Question: HOW CAN I BE MORE SELF-CONFIDENT?
Answer: Your self-confidence will increase if you feel you have prepared. Read the paper, magazines, trade publications and have three to five stories, news comments or
questions you will ask prepared in advance. The more you practice having casual conversations, the more confident you will become.
Question: HOW CAN I OVERCOME MY SHYNESS?
Answer: It is comforting to know that over 90% of people describe themselves as shy,
especially in a networking situation. Observe the behavior and conversations of outgoing people you admire. Consider joining a book club or toastmasters to overcome your shyness.
Question: HOW DO I MOVE FROM SMALL TALK?
Answer: Small talk is how you begin to develop rapport and is most important in
networking. Let the other person talk about themselves and they will like you more
and be more apt to add you to their network when the conversation turns to more
Question: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET A BUSINESS CARD?
Answer: Offer your business card and then ask “Do you have a card?” If you are a full
time job seeker your card should list your contact information on the front and list facts
on the back about your experience and accomplishments.
Networking is not different than any skills. You will learn how to work a room and become a great networker with practice.
Throughout your job search you want to enhance your skills. Employers prefer to hire individuals who have committed to a lifetime of learning.
Five of the most desirable skills include the following:
- Effective written and verbal communication – The documentation and correspondence you utilize throughout your job search, is often a potential employers first impression of your communication skills. Each conversation provides insight in to your verbal communication abilities. You must be able to communicate why you will provide a greater return on their investment than your competition.
- Technology – Most job openings will require computer literacy, the ability to navigate the Internet and exposure to basic office equipment. These skills do not mandate an IT Degree, but rather knowing the basic principles of using current technology.
- Interpersonal Skills - Most jobs involve interaction with many different kinds of people who have varying personalities, backgrounds, nationalities and abilities. Employers want to hire individuals who possess the skills of working successfully with people at all levels and backgrounds.
- Logical Thinking and Common Sense - Employers value individuals who have the ability to make sensible solutions.
- Organizational Abilities – Many businesses regard the ability to handle and organize information to produce effective solutions as one of the top skills they want to hire.
These abilities should be stressed during employment interviews as they relate to each specific opportunity. It is important to upgrade your abilities and skills in these five areas throughout your entire career.
Today’s hiring authorities want to attract and hire individuals who will provide them with the greatest return on their investment. In addition, they want someone who can help them solve challenges, issues or problem areas. Most industries or professions have universal problems that they face. Take time today to think about the problems you have solved for past employers. Review what actions you took and the results that were achieved.
Now make a list of potential employers you feel would be facing the same kind of problem and directly market yourself to the person who would be your bosses’ boss. Stress the problems you faced, solutions you implemented and results that were enjoyed by past employers.
This will encourage the hiring authority to envision you as a problem solver who would be at asset to their current team. Most employers would like to upgrade their team and solve current issues or problems. Position yourself as that person, and you will greatly increase your chances of scheduling an interview.
It’s easy to fall in to the trap of thinking “no one is hiring” when you are conducting your job search. Today, I want you to think about that statement for a minute. There are always employers who are hiring. They may not be offering the job you envisioned accepting, but their jobs could be a great interim choice while you continue to conduct your job search. If you do become underemployed, you want to do the best job you can for this employer, and often when they realize your level of work ethic, skills and experience, the interim job could lead to a position that is more aligned with your career goals.
During one of our LIVE weekly Job Seeker Webinars I shared the story of an ex-C Suite Executive who accepted a Holiday job as a Hotel Security Guard at night. During the day he logged on to this major hotel chain’s site and began taking all the free Hospitality Courses offered. He was soon hired full time, and within a year, he became the Head of Security. His next career move was to assistant GM, and in less than two years, he because the General Manager of the Hotel. The transition from Security Guard to GM is not normal, but if he had not accepted the Holiday Security Guard job, it would have never happened. If he had not taken additional Hotel Management courses, this would have not happened. If he had not worked harder and achieved more than other employees with more tenure and experience, this would have not happened. What possible opportunity have you missed out on because the initial job was not on your radar?
Think about the many job opportunities you heard about when you were working. Think about the individuals you could add to your professional and personal network if you were working. Whether you decide to accept a temp job, contract assignment or interim position, getting back in the work force will have a positive impact on your future job search. Getting back in the work force is also great for your self-esteem and confidence. Anyone working is someone who could make an introduction or open a door that represents your next job.
Remain open to new professions, industries and opportunities. There are times when the job you envision accepting no longer exists. When you are in a job search, it might be the first time in a long time when you can actually reflect on what you enjoyed doing. Think about the possibility of turning a hobby or unique skill you possess in to a new career. Take time today to write down all your skills, talents, unique abilities and soft skills that you possess. Accept the reality that there are always employers who are hiring and become more open to change and the possibility of doing something you’ve never before considered. The end result could be an opportunity you thoroughly enjoy!