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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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JOB INTERVIEW: Do Not ‘Bob and Weave’ Around Accountability

Posted February 19th, 2020 | Author: John G. Self
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For more than 25 years as an executive recruiter I interviewed hundreds of senior executives. Most had impressive records of accomplishment based on their resumes but only a small few talked about how their experience and track record of success would benefit the prospective employer.

Even today, when I think about those years of executive interviews, it is hard for me to wrap my hands around this dissonance – talented leaders who were reluctant to step up and explain to a board or hiring authority how they would make a meaningful difference for the organization.  Frequently, the most qualified candidates would be left at the altar because they could not, or would not, make that connection and offer that commitment. 

I will never forget the words of a frustrated CEO candidate who failed to bridge that canyon and was not selected:

“It was all in my resume, the board should have figured it out.”  

I will never forget the words of a frustrated CEO candidate who failed to bridge that canyon and was not selected: “It was all in my resume, the board should have figured it out.”  

I think that executive’s statement should serve as a clarion call to anyone who is entering today’s topsy turvy job market. The ability to effectively communicate is a critical function of leadership.  If you cannot show a governing board or hiring authority how you can add value – if you fail to communicate your unique important asset during the various interviews, do not be surprised, or do not complain, when you are not selected.  It’s on you.

One reason I have shifted roles from traveling around the globe interviewing executives to working as a career transition advisor, is to help otherwise talented leaders avoid the trap of not appreciating how important it is to make this connection and close the deal, and to share with clients the tricks of the trade and strategies for avoiding the potholes that are part and parcel of today’s job search practice.  

Over the years, when I challenged executives who failed to “close the deal” in an interview, asking why they held back, their answer almost always, directly or indirectly, was connected to accountability.  They were concerned they might be held accountable for something they said in an interview.

You do not want to be cocky or arrogant, but you do not want to hold back and find yourself on the sideline while others are in the game making a contribution.  

You do not want to be cocky or arrogant, but you do not want to hold back and find yourself on the sideline while others are in the game making a contribution.  

Uplifting confidence is always a welcome aspect of a job interview.  Trust me on that one.


Self, Smith to Teach Interviewing Skills Course at ACHE Congress In Chicago

Join Chrishonda Smith, CCDP, SHRM of OhioHealth and John G Self, an author, blogger and executive career transition coach, for a dynamic MASTER COURSE on interviewing skills at the American College Healthcare Congress in Chicago, March 23- 26.  This is one of the more popular and highly rated sessions of the Congress The session is at 2:15 PM on Wednesday, March 25.  

© 2020 John Gregory Self

18 February, 2020 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career counseling, Career Management, Career Transition/Outplacement
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Avoid the Frustrations of A Job Search

Posted February 18th, 2020 | Author: John G. Self

Many executives who have not looked for a job in years are struggling to adopt to the new job search landscape.  It can be an enormously frustrating experience.

Here are four points to keep in mind:

If you are in transition, some of the major search firms will NOT consider you for a position.  Some search consultants tell their clients they should never interview anyone who is between jobs. 

  • Do NOT sit back and wait for recruiters.  If you are in transition, some of the major search firms will NOT consider you for a position.  Some search consultants tell their clients they should never interview anyone who is between jobs.  It may not make sense but getting upset is like trying to have an argument with someone who is not going to listen.  Do not waste your time
  • Search firms do not handle all the best jobs.  In fact, search firms handle only about 30- 35 percent of the executive listings. More and more, large corporations and health systems, for example, are using internal resources for all but their most senior positions  
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are posing hurdles for job applicants. Your resume is your first interview.  The irony is you will not be there and, typically, no one from the employer side will be there.  The machine does the initial work
  • If you are not customizing your resume for each job you are probably wasting your time.  Using the right key words in the professional summary and throughout the resume is critical.
  • Hire a career advisor. Most people will not buy a house without hiring a Realtor.  Hire a career advisor who understands the landscape.  Typically they are less expensive than the Realtor and the knowledge they share will serve you well in later years

© 2020 John Gregory Self

17 February, 2020 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Early Careerists, Interviewing Skills
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An Economic Downturn Is A Certainty: Now Is the Time to Prepare

Posted February 17th, 2020 | Author: John G. Self

Recessions are inevitable in the great scope of economic history.  The next downturn is on its way.  That is a certainty.  So now is the time to prepare your career for a potential disruption. 

The last recession from December 2007 to June of 2009, was the worst since the economic crisis of 1929.  Unemployment jumped to 10 percent.  

It has been 10 years since that severe economic nightmare ended, an event that some said was only days or weeks away from cascading into a deep economic depression.

When will the next recession occur?  No one knows for sure.  If you look to economic trends as a predictor some economists would argue we are overdue by 4.5 years.  But right now, aside from a few layoffs here and there, the economy is chugging along just fine.  There are some financial prognosticators, those with a decidedly political agenda to defend, who argue that the current economic growth, owing to the corporate tax cuts, can go on indefinitely, which is never the case. So, forget that wishful thinking. 

The key question is not when the next recession will arrive but what can you do professionally to minimize the risks of a layoff or, if one comes your way, how you can accelerate your search for a new, better position.

The key question is not when the next recession will arrive but what can you do professionally to minimize the risks of a layoff or, if one comes your way, how you can accelerate your search for a new, better position.

Here are some practical steps that you can undertake now:

  • Get your resume up to date. Do it now while you have access to financial and operational records that will strengthen documentation of your accomplishments
  • Complete any pending professional certifications or fellowship credentials.  Now is the time.  When decisions are made on who to keep and who to lay off, qualifications/credentials can sometimes make a difference, based on my experience
  • Focus on your performance today. Make your numbers.  Top performers always have an advantage
  • Take a chance.   Volunteer for a project that others have avoided.  Leading a team that is successful when others were skeptical can be a powerful feather in your cap.  But do not let your ego overwhelm your better judgment.  A failure would not be helpful at layoff time
  • Begin building your strategic network.  I refer to this approach as building a network within a network.  Identify companies which you would like to work for and connect with the CEO.  Then look for other key executives with the company with whom you can connect and build a relationship. This is hard work and takes time.  If you have already lost your job, this otherwise beneficial strategy will probably not meet your immediate needs.  
  • Hire a career transition coach, now while you still have a steady income.  If you have not been in the job market in the last five years, you may be in for a bone-rattling shock.  Things have changed – dramatically.  Hire someone who understands the dynamics and can help you get ready for a challenging job search.  Waiting to see if the axe is going to fall is a bad decision

The longer it takes for the downturn to begin, the better positioned you will be to navigate through any havoc that might occur.  

Do not make the mistakes that hundreds of thousands of executives made in 2006 and 2007 wait for the first signs of a slowdown to get prepared for a possible job search.

Interviewing Skills Course Planned for ACHE Congress

Join Chrishonda Smith, CCDP, SHRM of OhioHealth and John G Self, an author, blogger and executive career transition coach, for a dynamic MASTER COURSE on interviewing skills at the American College Healthcare Congress in Chicago, March 23- 26.  This is one of the more popular and highly rated sessions of the Congress The session is at 2:15 PM on Wednesday, March 25.  

© 2020 John Gregory Self

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