I received this letter from a brand-new graduate who got the accounting job he wanted because he conducted his job search using excellent strategies for his networking, company research, interview prep, thank you notes, and even salary negotiations. See what worked for Scott, so you can use it, too.
This is a success story I want your readers to see, because of the importance that social networking and preparing for an interview play in the role of a job search.
Two months ago, I connected with an employee through LinkedIn at the company I will be starting to work at in June. She was finishing up her accounting degree at the same university where I was also finishing up my accounting degree (although I did not know her at the university). I asked her some questions about the company that I wanted to know. She gave me terrific answers, and I put this company on my "A" list of companies that interested me the most.
A few days later, she told me that her company was hiring for accounting positions and for me to go ahead and send my resume to her. I did, and she gave my resume to the director of the accounting department (who was the "hiring manager"). In other words, I bypassed the dreaded human resources office. Three weeks ago, the director gave me a call to see if I would be interested in interviewing for a staff accountant-in-training position. I said I would, and interviewed with the company two weeks later.
The extra time gave me an opportunity to thoroughly research the company. However and just as importantly, it gave me the needed time to put together the "30-60-90 Day Plan" that you talk about so much. The day prior to my interview with this company, I sent the director the "30-60-90 Day Plan" to give her an idea what she could expect from me as I would hit the ground running. I had a couple of interviews that next day (first with the director and second with a group of her five managers). Because I was thoroughly prepared from the amount of research I did on the company, I came into both interviews totally calm. Not the least bit nervous. Didn't flinch even once (unlike I would have from past group interviews).
Yesterday, the director called to announce that she wanted to offer me a staff accountant-in-training position at $35,000. I was hoping for a little more, and told her that I would give her my final decision the next day. Thirty minutes later, I got a call from another company that wanted to offer me a logistics position at $39,000. I emailed the director back a short while later, and told her that I had been offered $39,000 from another company (but didn't say what for or the name of the company). Mentioned that I preferred to work for her company and like what the company did to help others, etc.
She wrote an email back to me later that day and told me to give her a call early the following morning to go over the email I sent. When I called that next day, she gave me a counteroffer of $40,000 and explained why she chose to give me a bump of an extra $5,000. After listening to what she said, I agreed on the counteroffer and will be working for a terrific company in just over a month from now.
What this goes to show is a few things:
1. Networking is vitally important, online or in person. You never know where your next job will come from as a result of networking, and avoiding the human resources office is always a great idea. It worked for me.
2. Take preparation for an interview seriously. When you know what the company does, where they rank in the Fortune 500 list of companies or in the Forbes' 200 Largest Private Companies list (which this company is a part of), how many locations the company has, how many states the company is in, the areas the company specializes, the company’s competition, the things the company is most known for - and you can synthesize that information in such a way that it feels natural (which was the case for me in this set of interviews) - a sole interviewer or a group of interviewers will perceive that you are real and human to them (not just the next person trying to impress interviewers for the sake of impressing them). As the saying goes in the field of business, “Perception is reality.”
3. Be a problem solver. Interviewers (be it a director, manager, or anyone else who is the hiring manager) have a pain or a problem that needs to be taken away or solved. From listening to the interviewers' responses, I could sense/perceive where the pain existed with these individuals. Based upon the questions of the interviewers, I gave powerful responses that demonstrated how I could take away their pain.
4. Always, always, always (if I haven't said it enough, always) send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you, plus others who you interacted with during the interview process. This particular set of interviews was a little tricky in terms of getting business cards. I made sure when all the managers went around the room to introduce themselves to write them down to the best of my ability in the pronunciation of their last names. When I asked all the managers for a business card and none of them had a business card to give me, I had the names written down on my pad. Then, when I spoke with the director's assistant, she needed information from me. When I was able to get her email address, then I was set. Thank you notes can make all the difference in the world for a “hiring manager” between two candidates. Besides, I don’t know of anyone who does not want to be thanked for the time he or she spent with you of that person’s busy schedule.
Because the director said that a decision would be made quickly on me, I chose to send emails instead of a thank you note sent via snail mail. I sent an email to the director, thanking her and the managers for the time they took out of their busy day to interview me, etc. I sent an email to the director's assistant, thanking for the conversation I had with her. In both emails, I reminded each how much I was looking forward to the opportunity of working with the company and how highly I thought of the company. I believe that people need to be treated with respect within a company – from top level management all the way down to custodians, administrative assistants, and many others.
This is my story, and good luck to you on your job search.
With 15 years of executive recruiting (in the medical sales and marketing arena) and over 5 yearsof coaching folks around the world (Thailand, England, France, Russia, Singapore, UAE, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea), I've worked with executives at all levels, in all kinds of industries—from CEOs of big banks to CTOs of companies that have hundreds of thousands of SKUs to the VP level, Director level, folks who are in every area of the company (finance, operations, sales, marketing, customer support, IT, etc.).
From this experience, I can tell you that there are commonalities that you can use to have much greater success in your executive job search and your career:
At every level, the job search process is really a sales process. The entire transaction of a hiring manager, CEO, Board of Directors, or anyone choosing an employee at any level is psychologically just like a customer buying a product. In this case, the hiring manager is the customer, you’re the product, and your salary is the purchase price. The job itself is the problem or task that they need a solution for. You are that solution.
You have to show them why you’re the best solution and how you can help them, because they want to know, “What’s in it for us?” “Why should we choose you?”
2 - Learn to Write an Interesting, Compelling Cover Letter or Initial Message
Everyone hates writing cover letters. But if you don't write a great one, you are missing a valuable opportunity to set the bias in your favor BEFORE they see your resume. Don't you think it's better to have someone with a positive mindset looking at your resume instead of someone with a negative or even neutral one?
If you get interviews but not the job, this is the book for you.
I have been out of work for over a year...I have interviewed several times and I was fully qualified, but there were 30 other people as fully qualified, and I was missing something every time and never got the job. I went to an interview last week and took your 30-60-90 day plan...and it worked!!!!! He was so impressed with my plan that he not only hired me, he hired me as a general manager for all his stores, A 6 figure job. Much more than I was interviewing for. - Pete Carr
This comprehensive book gives you the training to create a strategic plan for success in your first 3 months on the job. You'll learn:
* What a 30/60/90-Day Plan is and why it's so impressive to hiring managers
* What benefit it brings to you as a candidate in the interview
All things considered, how satisfied are you with your job?
According to a Forbes survey, only 19% of all workers are satisfied with their jobs. The majority of us don't like our jobs (not me--coaching job seekers is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world).
Job dissatisfaction is not always about the actual work you do, or about the money....there are a lot of factors involved, according to Psyblog: it's the support and feedback you get, along with the amount of control you feel while carrying out your tasks, among other things. (Huffington Post has a fun chart showing most and least meaningful jobs.)
So while some of us do need to switch careers (see Career Key for tests, or this post on job shadowing to help you try out something new), many of us just need a new employer to work for. The same job with a different company can make all the difference in the world.
That's what Career Confidential is all about...to give you the tools you need to gain the freedom to get a new job or a better job when you want it. You should NEVER feel stuck in a job you hate. Life is too short and days are too long for that. (Check out our job search tools or sign up for one of our free training webinars if you're ready to move on to a great job.)
How do you feel about your job? How satisfied are you? What is the biggest factor for you in job satisfaction? Let me know in the comments.
What happens if you've been told you're going to get the phone interview but then nothing happens?
They don't say they changed their mind about you--they just tell you it's on hold and then you don't hear anything more.
This happened to a real job candidate--a recruiter called to tell him about the job, submitted his resume, set up the phone interview, and gave him the name of the company and the manager. The next thing the candidate knew, the recruiter called back to say that he wasn't going to get to do the phone interview because everything was on hold, but he would be in touch. After more than a week with no phone call, the candidate asked me for help. (I do individual career coaching.)
Watch this video to see how 4 different job candidates did something special (that you could do, too) and got the offer. You've got to see it...these were some truly great ideas, and I know they will help you.
If you would like help or additional information on using these techniques to get the offer, click the links below:
You communicate your confidence in your physical presentation, your body language, and what you say and how you say it.
Good communication skills are essential. Sounding even remotely uncertain of your ability to do the job you’re interviewing for (and do it well) is an interview killer. No employer is going to hire someone who isn’t even sure himself if he is capable. What phrases convey uncertainty?
Employers want to know about more than just your skills and experience--they want to know how you'll get along day-to-day. How will you react in stressful situations? What will you do when a customer gets cranky, or there's some issue with the product?
One way for hiring managers to get to that information is to use behavioral interview questions that try to uncover how you have reacted in similar situations, or that set up a theoretical problem to see how you would go about solving it.
Both types of behavioral (or situational) interview questions show how you think, which can be much more informative for a hiring manager than asking about your greatest weakness.
The easiest and most effective way to answer Behavioral Interview Questions is to use the STAR format.
If you got the phone interview, you are just a few minutes away from getting the face-to-face interview--IF you handle those few minutes well. Think about your phone interview in a fresh way and stand out from everyone else they talk to and get your face-to-face interview!
No matter what job you do--technical, administrative, education, operations, manufacturing, data-based, marketing, or sales--the process of getting the job is basically a sales process. You are the 'product' that's for sale, or hire; the hiring manager, or interviewer, is the 'customer'. In this analogy, you are also the sales rep, because you are convincing that hiring manager, or employer, to buy your product (hire you for the job).
If your job search is like a sales process, interviews are like sales calls. If you look at what successful sales reps do to sell their products, and apply at least some of those principles to your job search and interviews, you will be successful in 'selling' yourself for the job.
Here is a great article to help you from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter. Mark gives you outstanding phone sales tips to use when contacting customers that work very well for also speaking with hiring managers (or Human Resources) in your phone interviews.
I have posted the article in its entirety, but I have italicized the tips that will be most useful and effective for you:
Have you ever felt like your age was holding you back in your job search?
If you are over 40 (not to mention 50 or 60), age discrimination could be keeping you from getting hired. It's almost impossible to prove, but it still happens. And it's not just frustrating--it's threatening to your career and the quality of your life.
No matter how old you are, you deserve to get the job you want and are qualified for. To make sure that happens, I am putting together a free webinar with Bobby Edelman, founder of Interns Over 40. (If you haven't seen his website, you need to.) Bobby is a true expert on the issues older job seekers face, as well as the solutions that work.