With 7 states in double digit unemployment and 49 of the 50 states seeing an increase in unemployment more people are now looking for a job. With fewer positions in the marketplace and a larger supply of people, getting a job is easier said than done. If you are looking for a job you must stand out, but in the right way. What does that mean? It means getting a job is a job in and of itself!
Here are the Top 10 Ways to Manage the Hiring Process:
1. Focus Your Search. When you are looking for a job it is easy to feel the fear. Every news show and site says be flexible and take what you can get. While we understand and agree with that philosophy in spirit, it can get lost in translation. If you lose your focus on what you want and why you want it the potential employer will notice your lack of focus (desperation) and as a result will become uncomfortable with you as a candidate. Do not let fear drive your behavior. Let direction drive your behavior. Remember one thing…Less is more! A quality experience in 5 hiring processes will be produce better results than responding generically to 20 opportunities.
2. Research Your Prospect. Do not forget that finding a job is no different than sales. Potential employers are prospects and should be treated as such. I would never walk into a potential client’s office, or even call them, without doing some basic research first. Here are some things to research:
o What were their basic financials last year?
o What are their current financials?
o What is the strategy and/or vision of the organization?
o Who are their competitors?
o What do their customers think about them?
o What do the employees think about the organization?
o What are the stated values of the organization?
o What type of culture and work environment do they have?
Each of these questions can be answered using the internet or a phone. And it takes less time than you think. There are other questions you can explore. This list is just a few. The most important thing is…Never start a conversation with a prospect blind!
3. Network Your Way In. A resume is just a piece of paper. You will get dinged if there are typos, but you will not get credit because it looks nice. Many resumes look professional. Relationships matter. If you want your resume at the top of the pile or you want an interview network your way in. If you have not built a network and you are looking for a job it is a little late in the game. But all is not lost. It is rarely too late. Here are some tips for building your network:
o Make a list of everyone you know. Not only tell them you are job hunting, but let them know what type of job you are looking for and for which organizations you would like to work. Don’t assume people won’t help and definitely do not assume they know enough about you and what you want to help. Tell them. Help them help you by painting a clear picture.
o Join social networking sites especially those that are business related such as LinkedIn and use internet sites such as the Vault. Many of these sites help you identify who can help you get into an organization. At the very least they can get you information about an organization.
o Talk to recruiters. They know who is hiring and they have the relationships.
4. First Things First. Get ready. I do not even mean preparing for the interview yet. I mean get your questions for them ready. They will expect that you have questions. If you do not ask a question they will take note. Also, know the dress code and culture. If you are working through a recruiter ask them about the company culture and work environment. If not you will have to find someone that knows the company well.
5. Preparation is Paramount. List all of your accomplishments both big and small. Then write out a brief story (the true story) about each accomplishment. Think about the situation that was going on, the challenge you faced, the actions you took, the results you achieved and your learning’s. If you do this now it won’t be a challenge sharing specifics in the interview and you will not waste a lot of time trying to remember important things to share. Pick your most relevant accomplishments to the job for which you are interviewing.
6. Get a Mirror. Practice interviewing. Ask a trusted friend to interview you. Go on a practice interview (interview for a position that you do not really want for practice). Be honest with yourself regarding your performance. Ask for feedback. Have other people figuratively hold a mirror up so that you can see yourself as a hiring manager sees you. Know your interviewing strengths and weaknesses before you go to your first interview.
7. Talk Less, Listen More. People like to talk. And people like to talk about themselves. Rather than thinking of an interview as a performance, think of it as a conversation. Engage your interviewer as well as answer questions. Ask the interviewer a question or two. They will remember you more if they begin to develop a relationship with you during the interview process.
8. Silence is Your Friend. There are always pauses, sometimes awkward, in any conversation. They are normal. Use these pauses to your advantage. When you get asked a question take your time before you answer. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Taking an 8 to 10 second pause to regroup can mean the difference between “You are just not the right fit for the job.” And “You’re hired!”
9. Structure your Answers. Be clear, concise and compelling. Remember you prepared stories. Use those stories. Provide your answer in a brief manner with all of the keep components represented:
o What was the situation?
o What challenge did you face?
o What action(s) did you take?
o What was the result?
o What did you learn?
10. Old Fashioned is better. It seems that etiquette is lost these days. Write a thank you letter. Write it right away. Sure you can send an email, but why not also follow it up with a real letter and a stamp. It is personal and it stands out.