the economy is showing some signs of improvement, there are still millions of
people who are out of work. For executives who need the fulfillment of
daily accomplishment, the job of finding a job can be enormously frustrating.
you add in the fact that the best qualified candidate is selected only 35 to 40
percent of the time, according to our observations, that can make the job
hunting process all the more defeating.
you consider that the odds are against the typical out-of-work executive —
hundreds of applicants for each position — it is a wonder so many keep
looking. Rejection is a bitter pill that can corrupt the spirit.
Therefore, executives in the job market need to be at their best at each stage
of the interview process.
Question: If the best
qualified person is not being hired most of the time, which executives are
getting the jobs and how does a candidate work their way into that group?
Qualified candidates who do the best job of interviewing.
you are tired of rejection, here are some hints that will help you compete in
the crowded, noisy marketplace of job hunting.
The resume is the first interview. If the resume does not present a
compelling story of the candidate's experience, skills, and accomplishments
that are supported by metrics, that is a weakness that must be overcome.
There is no limit on the length of a candidate's resume; it should be
proportional to years of experience and relevant accomplishments.
Perfect the elevator speech. When asked to describe themselves, or
worse, when asked to share information about growing up, far too many
candidates stumble, mumble and frequently fumble, to borrow a phrase from
ESPN's Chris Berman. This is the answer that a candidate should
nail. Surprisingly, however, it does not
occur to many candidates to rehearse several answers to these or similar types
Be prepared. It is not uncommon for recruiters to zero in on resume
gaps and short tenures, especially if there appears to be pattern of multiple
jobs in a relatively short time frame. The candidate must realize that
these events cannot be hidden or ignored. Develop a response for all or
each event and then practice the response. Stand in front of a mirror and
learn the answer(s). Tweak the response if you feel it can be improved.
However, be honest and be authentic. These events are not
necessarily a ticket to rejection. This "practice principle"
applies to the entire interview. The book Topgrading provides a list of challenging questions that were used
by successful corporations like GE. It is worth the price of the book get
those questions. Stand in front of a mirror and practice .
Be authentic. One question that many candidates seem to hate — and
flub — is: Tell me about your weaknesses? Or, "What will your references
say are your weaknesses?" The worst response is, "I work too much."
Or, you see the candidate flinch and then the stumbling answer begins.
Stop. There is a better way. Talk to your references and ask
them about your weaknesses. Then incorporate their feedback into an
answer that shows you are aware of these issues and that you have a system to
monitor yourself. Your answer will be more authentic.
Upcoming Speech Appearance: On Wednesday I will be speaking on
this very subject at the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress in Chicago with my colleague, outplacement consultant Craig Honaman, FACHE, CRC.
I will share some other ideas next week.
© John G. Self