Surviving and Thriving in “The Sea of Unwashed Faces”

AjustDaSailsIn the traditional marketplace, potential employers seem to have the upper hand… but like the ol’ half full glass of water, remember that from the employer’s view available top talent seems like a sea of unwashed faces, too.

So what is it that the job seeker can control to make THEIR face stand out…network to and interview with the true decision maker… BE the chosen one?


THIS Week’s Session: Thursday, July 12th at The Egg and I…

Embracing The OTHER Job Market


bob-maher-4587-editStanding-out in the “sea of unwashed faces” becomes the simple matter of adjusting ones sales when in the challenging waters of career transition.

Create an expectation of who you are and what you can do for your next employer by clearly positioning and targeting your collateral materials, both written and verbal.  When stating your career objective, clearly state your appropriate work and make an offer of your services.

Here are some tips on becoming a valued partner…

Walk the talk.  Nothing speaks louder than results…. From the recruitment perspective, the best indicator of one’s potential for success is one’s prior experience and results gained.  A partner helps others within the organization achieve their goals. And results require actions, not just words. The better the results you get, the more likely you are to be invited on to ‘the team.’

Deep knowledge. You must have a true understanding of every aspect of the business, how all the moving parts work together, the obstacles ahead, and intimate knowledge of the competition in the marketplace. In other words, you’ve done your homework and understand your potential employer’s need.  And you must be able to articulate your understanding to anyone involved in the decision-making process in a manner that demonstrates that you truly get it.

Two of the many ways of accomplishing this image are to…

  1. Keep a file of relevant articles to share with key decision-makers, take advantage of the approaches that email and social media have to offer… create and maintain top-of-mind awareness.
  2. Further, create a set of ‘white papers’ that express, from your knowledge and experience, your perspective on relevant issues to your Profession or industry of choice.

Listen well. Everyone loves to feel that they have been heard and understood. One attribute of leadership is being known as a good listener. And if you can reiterate and articulate what has been said, you will be valued as a partner in the decision-making process.

Remember, as a job seeker, NETWORKING is your way to share knowledge, ‘branding’ yourself as a valued resource.  It is also your best source of confirming the subjective information you seek to supplement your research of factual information about a potential employer.

Big picture thinking. Having a strategic vision requires you to see all areas of the business, internal and external.   This is a valuable trait well beyond the C-suite.  If you only have a deep understanding of one area, you are more likely to be tactical in your decisions, rather than strategic.

You must be able to foresee problems from the stakeholders’ perspective in order to offer the most highly valued and comprehensive solutions.

Tying all of this together, the best way to be treated like a valued partner is to act like one. The more you demonstrate your value, the more you will become recognized as the new go-to person in the organization.

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What IS This OTHER Job Market?

Compass-seaLIn every marketplace, there are buyers and sellers.  In the traditional job market, the one that our Department of Labor measures for us, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is productive work and the competition is fierce.

It doesn’t matter if you are an operations manager, an internal HR professional, senior finance executive, or a key player on the IT team—ANY experienced and valued professional job seeker—ALL want to become a valued partner in the business of their next employer.


NEXT Session, Thursday, July 12th at The Egg & I: Embracing The OTHER Job Market, our introductory and overview look at The 12-Step process


chalk1Everyone wants a voice in strategic decisions and to be included in ‘the conversation.’ To truly be included, you need to be invited. And you will only be invited if you are seen as absolutely essential to the TEAM.  Remember, team player and team leader CAN BE interchangeable terms.

In the OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services. 

The JOB Market The OTHER Job Market
Characterized by “requisitioned” jobs being filled by chosen job seekers. Characterized by available/needed work being fulfilled by job seekers, contractors, internal candidates, third-party consultants, retirees, part-timers, temporary workers, etc.
JOBS rigidly defined by requirements and qualifications… reflected by the screening process aimed at identifying key candidates. Work expectations are subjective, defined by mutual agreement, fulfillment of need or contract… reflected through the identification of qualified candidates.
Process overseen by Human Resource professionals, regulated to consider minimally qualified candidates, hopefully within salary guidelines. Process directed by hiring authorities seeking best available talent at marketplace salary expectations.
JOB Seeking PUBLIC is screened for most desirable candidates. Qualified and available candidates are sourced and recruited, often through process of endorsement or internal referral.
Screening defined by KEYWORDS, often accomplished through computer/internet job banks and resume databases. Screening accomplished by word of mouth and endorsement, often supplementing the organization’s formal process of recruitment.
Recruitment process subject to scrutiny of regulation and political correctness. Often selection process has occurred before active recruitment has been fully engaged.
Actual selection still subject to formal process and subjective choice. Actual selection often a rubber stamp formality to satisfy regulation requirements.

On the other hand, if an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services.  Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

Banging On The Screen Door

chalk1The term “third party recruiter” goes by many names, including contingency agencies, executive search firms, retained search firms, employment agencies, headhunters, recruiters, and temp agencies.  These all fall under the umbrella of the “staffing industry.”

Contingency Agencies are paid by the company after the agency’s candidate is hired…their sourcing process is a paperwork mill.

Retained Search Firms custom locates candidates for a company and are paid upfront or on a progress basis (retained basis). Their sourcing process is often more focused and conducted on a more personal level.

Employment Agencies are contracted by companies to find candidates for temporary or permanent positions.  Often their sourcing and screening activity is conducted in parallel to Corporate recruiting efforts.

Temporary (Temp) Agencies find candidates to fill temporary jobs and “temp to perm” positions.  This includes the Lease2Perm TECHNICAL firms.


This week’s session, Thursday, June 28th at The Egg and I: An exploration of the third-party world of recruitment


bob-maher-4587-editIn embracing The OTHER Job Market, a successful professional seeking their next appropriate employment will learn the technique of using the services of a third party recruiter.  Our goal is to understand their world, from THEIR viewpoint, in order to optimize the effectiveness of our efforts looking for work.

HOMEWORK for this week’s session…

The American Staffing Association (ASA)

TEXAS specific statistics… Third-party recruitment statistics in Texas

As promised here is more of my list of things you should take into consideration when working with staffing agencies.

  1. Working with a staffing agency does not guarantee placement in a job.  It’s one of many techniques to use in your job search.
  2. Staffing agencies do the initial screening, saving the employer time and money… they are an extension of the employer’s recruiting and screening process.
  3. Don’t abdicate the tasks of the job search to a recruiter who is busy working with lots of job seekers.
  4. Reducing or stopping your networking efforts once you start using a staffing agency is a huge mistake.
  5. Approximately 79 percent of staffing employees work full-time according to the American Staffing Association (ASA).
  6. Recruiters have contacts in the business community which only extends your networking outreach.
  7. Employers that experience an unexpected increase in business may favor hiring temps before hiring permanent workers.
  8. Companies are using staffing agencies to “test drive” the performance of a temp before offering a permanent position.
  9. The ASA notes that 12 million Americans will work at some point during the course of the year in as a temp or contract employee.
  10. Temping is not a step down.  It’s money, connections, a resume gap stopper and an opportunity to get your foot in the door.
  11. Signing up with a staffing agency is usually quick and easy, much of which can be done online.
  12. While actual titles may vary, there are basically three functions within any one staffing firm: those that identify and bring in the actual job orders, those that identify and initially screen potential applicants, and those that administer the firm’s process.
  13. Network with your LinkedIn connections to learn more about the right staffing firms to use; use more than one agency. “Reach out” to at least two firms each week within your Personal Marketing Plan.
  14. Check the phone book or Internet for a list of staffing agencies; also use the Internet to find additional information…CAUTION: There is no directory of the ‘good ones.’ THAT is a matter of your personal relationship with them.
  15. Schedule an appointment with a staffing agency representative.  Dress to impress, show your smile and give a firm handshake.
  16. Make sure your resume has been professionally critiqued before you submit it to a staffing agency.

* more to follow *

 

The OTHER Job Market Has a Screen Door, Too!

Compass-seaLJust as in traditional job search, there are four avenues in to more efficient and productive job search: Classified advertising, third-party recruitment services, employer job postings (this trio can be addressed by using the Internet ‘job boards’), and personal contact networking.

One of the many keys to unlocking the screen door of The OTHER Job Market is to sieze control of the process and take actions like that of an equal partner in the recruitment process.


This week’s session, Thursday, June 28th at The Egg and I: An exploration of the third-party world of recruitment


bob-maher-4587-editIn embracing The OTHER Job Market, a successful professional seeking their next appropriate employment will learn the technique of using the services of a third party recruiter.  The term “third party recruiter” goes by many names including contingency agencies, executive search firms, retained search firms, employment agencies, headhunters, recruiters, and temp agencies.  These all fall under the umbrella of the “staffing industry.”

Contingency Agencies are paid by the company after the agency’s candidate is hired…their sourcing process is a paperwork mill.

Retained Search Firms custom locates candidates for a company and are paid upfront or on a progress basis (retained basis). Their sourcing process is often more focused and conducted on a more personal level.

Employment Agencies are contracted by companies to find candidates for temporary or permanent positions.  Often their sourcing and screening activity is conducted in parallel to Corporate recruiting efforts.

Temporary (Temp) Agencies find candidates to fill temporary jobs and “temp to perm” positions.  This includes the Lease2Perm TECHNICAL firms.

The number of temporary employees is growing and this trend is expected to continue.

TMI (Too Much Information)… The American Staffing Association (ASA)

TEXAS specific statistics… Third-party recruitment statistics in Texas

Temping can help you learn new skills and experience, build your network, open up options you had not previously considered and bridge employment gaps.  The goal is to get inside a company.  Here is my list of things you should take into consideration when working with staffing agencies.

  1. Some agencies have skills training to prepare employees for their assignments; others expect you to hit the ground running.
  2. Temp jobs can often be the answer when your cash reserves are running low.
  3. Temping can give you experience in careers you might not have otherwise thought of trying – without a long-term commitment.
  4. Having the flexibility from temping can work well for your job search and personal priorities.
  5. Signing up with a staffing agency is usually quick and easy, much of which can be done online.
  6. Approximately 79 percent of staffing employees work full-time according to the American Staffing Association (ASA).
  7. The ASA notes that 12 million Americans will work at some point during the course of the year in as a temp or contract employee.
  8. Temping is not a step down.  It’s money, connections, a resume gap stopper and an opportunity to get your foot in the door.

*MORE to follow*

Interview SKILL: Becoming a ‘Valued Partner’

Compass-seaLWhether you are an operations manager, an internal HR professional, senior finance executive, or a key player on the IT team—ANY experienced and valued professional job seeker—ALL and EVERYONE should want to become a ‘valued partner’ in the strategic and operational planning–as well as the execution–of their next employer. To become fully engaged, Everyone wants a voice in strategic decisions and to be included in ‘the conversation.’


THIS WEEK’s Session, Thursday, June 21st: Closing The Deal II, exploring and practicing interview tactics, including POST-OFFER Negotiation


chalk1To truly be included, you need to be invited. And you will only be invited if you are seen as absolutely essential to the TEAM.  Remember, team player and team leader CAN BE interchangeable terms.

Here are some tips on becoming a valued partner…

Walk the talk.  Nothing speaks louder than results…. From the recruitment perspective, the best indicator of one’s potential for success is one’s prior experience and results gained.  A partner helps others within the organization achieve their goals. And results require actions, not just words. The better the results you get, the more likely you are to be invited on to ‘the team.’

Deep knowledge... You must have a true understanding of ‘the bigger picture…’ how does your department fit into meeting organizational goals and objectives?  In other words, you’ve done your homework and understand your potential employer’s need.  And you must be able to articulate your understanding to anyone involved in the decision-making process in a manner that demonstrates that you truly get it.

Two of the many ways of accomplishing this image are to…

  1. Keep a file of relevant articles to share with key decision-makers, take advantage of the approaches that email and social media have to offer… create and maintain top-of-mind awareness.
  2. Further, create a set of ‘white papers’ that express, from your knowledge and experience, your perspective on relevant issues to your Profession or industry of choice.

 Listen well Everyone loves to feel that they have been heard and understood. One attribute of leadership is being known as a good listener. And if you can reiterate and articulate what has been said, you will be valued as a partner in the decision-making process.  Remember, the human brain takes IN information more efficiently than it can put out valued communication.

Communicate Like The LEADER You ARE 

Remember, as a job seeker, NETWORKING is your way to share knowledge, ‘branding’ yourself as a valued resource.  It is also your best source of confirming the subjective information you seek to supplement your research of factual information about a potential employer.

 

Big picture thinking Having a strategic vision requires you to see all areas of the business, internal and external.   This is a valuable trait well beyond the C-suite.

If you only have a deep understanding of one area, you are more likely to be tactical in your decisions, rather than strategic. You must be able to foresee problems from the stakeholders’ perspective in order to offer the most highly valued and comprehensive solutions.  Tying all of this together, the best way to be treated like a valued partner is to act like one.

The more you demonstrate your value, the more you will become recognized as the go-to person in the organization and you will be included and have a voice in the big strategic decisions.

The Other Side Of The Table: Reverse Engineering of INTERVIEW STRATEGY

Compass-seaLSo, how does a concept from the field of engineering get itself into the dysfunctional event called INTERVIEWING? Reverse engineering is a detailed examination of a technical product or service, with the end-game of producing something similar. In fact, this method could also apply to the job interview because sometimes, in a job interview, the candidate does not properly understand the question the interviewer has asked, and therefore the answer, of course, would likely not be the best.  In other words, the most important element of the job interview is that the candidate clearly and fully understand the context and issue involved with each question if that candidate’s answers are to meet the interviewer’s expectations.


THIS WEEK’s Session, Thursday, June 14th: Closing The Deal I, exploring interview strategies, including ‘MoneySpeak’ and PRE-OFFER Negotiation


chalk1It’s a sad fact that many of the people who conduct job interviews, those representing your potential employers, have never taken even one structured course about carrying out a thorough and productive interview. And it’s disturbing that many professional interviewers do a less than satisfactory job of actually conducting an interview.

Anatomy of the interview

The job interview itself is a professional conversation between employers’ representatives and job applicants (EQUAL participants) for the purpose of selecting the applicant who appears to be the best candidate. Of course, interviews vary in many ways based on type of job and on level within an organization. But in all cases there are similarities.

So, what are the criteria that interviewers must satisfy for themselves in order to go ahead and recommend the hiring of an individual? The answer, of course, includes many criteria, which will differ from one interview to the next…and which at times will be influenced by prejudices, not unlike a job seeker’s offer criteria and the influence of emotions, anxiety, and other pressures.

The interviewer will want to confirm that YOU MEET REQUIREMENTS, usually set forth in a company job description.  They attempt to assure your willingness and ability to meet their JOB performance EXPECTATIONS… and finally, the most subjective of all, both parties should be optimizing how well you FIT the job and team cultural issues.

In addition, in most cases more than one interview takes place before a final decision is reached. Let’s examine the types of questions asked in many interviews… and the intentions behind the questions.

Questions for the screening interview

Here the first criterion is communication skills, and a typical question is, “Tell me about yourself.”  On hearing the answer, the interviewer has the opportunity to access how the candidate frames that answer. Is it clear and concise? Is the candidate engaging me?

The next criterion is competency. The question could be, Can you give me a specific example of a time you used a (particular) skill and the outcome (a behavioral question)? Now the interviewer listens for whether the answer indicates that the candidate is a team player. Does the candidate truly demonstrate well-developed skills in the area of my interest, and what were the main results?

At all companies, cultural fit is extremely important. Several common questions are pertinent to this area. For example, What was the biggest team project or task you’ve undertaken in your career? They may dig deeper, with specific follow-up questions, like:

  • What is the size and scope of the project team. Was the objective reached?
  • Who benefited by the outcome?

Was the candidate’s answer well communicated? Was it too long? Too short?

The next area to explore is motivation. Here they may probe the interviewee on what they have researched, or know about the company, testing whether the candidate has done their ‘homework.’  Is the candidate really interested? Does the candidate know more details about the organization than what’s available on the Web site?

You’ve made it through the screening process…NOW What?

 Questions for the second interview

Because the motivation factor is so very important, it’s likely that this criterion will come up in the second interview as well, when other members of the interviewing team look for it. Common questions are:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why did you leave your last position? Were there hidden problems?
  • Do you wish to grow professionally? Do you have a clear vision of your professional future?

The next area to look into would be trust of colleagues and customers. A good, probing question would be, Can you cite examples that best demonstrate your ability to relate well to others?

  • Have you been invited to contribute to other teams?
  • Did your team and other teams celebrate their successes together?
  • How about repeat business? Or returning internal or external customers?

People in management are expected to identify and establish goals. Listen closely here, because the context of goal-oriented questioning is important.  They may inquire about your plans for the first 90 days after hire. Does the candidate know the product or service? Has the candidate given thought to a plan? Is the plan detailed enough?

If at this point the candidate appears promising, they may turn to the salary issues.  What kind of money are you looking for? The answer will enable me to decide whether it’s worth continuing the interview if a candidate’s expectations are out of the hiring manager’s salary range budgeted for the position.

The DARK Side

They may ask a question about a perceived liability. For example, Aren’t you overqualified? I will determine whether the response is defensive or equable.

And the last area involves predicting future behavior.  The best predictor of future success is evidence of related accomplishment in the past.  Questions about future behavior are typically based on behaviors or situations. For example, Tell me about a time you had to defend an idea and what the outcome was.

Asking interview questions is not difficult. Making judgments based on candidates’ answers is where interviewing skills get severely tested.

And perfect practice makes perfect for both parties.