Most job seekers know that there are some tough odds in landing some of the best possible positions. It is a bit of luck and a lot of hard work that tips the scales your way when the opportunity is the right fit for both sides. There are many ways to get noticed by decision-makers, but you must be careful about the reason you get noticed.
Recruiters tend to be a little fussy about candidates playing games with them. And sure, you can just move on to the next recruiter and hope they have the right opportunity for you. But what if you gave up the perfect job simply because you weren’t following some simple rules of game? That would make everyone involved a loser.
Check out my latest article for job-hunt.org to see if you’re staying out of trouble and playing by the “rules.”
A while back, a large computer software company used to ask candidates, “If you could be any kitchen appliance, which one would you be and why?” When I share this with my candidates, I get fun answers, like “I’d be a coffee maker because I’m a morning person.” Or, “A stovetop–I’ve always got several burners going at once.” The reality is, there is no right answer. This is a “panic question.” The interviewer wants to throw a question at you that you’re not expecting and see how (quickly, rationally and calmly) you respond.
Although, some of these zany questions do strive to understand your personality. Sometimes it can be hard to define what exactly is the “right answer.” Understanding the corporate culture before interviewing can help determine if your personality is a fit or not. Then the answer will likely be fitting since your personality is in line with theirs. For example, Applebee’s has asked in the past “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” Your answer would likely be different if asked by a law firm or bank, right?
There are many crazy questions. And they can always dream up more. The key is to always show confidence, take a moment to think through your answer (a few seconds may seem long, but it’s not as long as you think), and be honest.
Here are a few more supplied by Glassdoor that you may find interesting, or at least humorous.
Once in a while, when a job seeker submits their resignation and offers a two-week’s notice, they get a surprise in return: a counter-offer. Quite frequently this includes a match on salary with the new company and sometimes an increase in responsibility. In this situation, many things can go wrong for all involved.
The Candidate Perspective
I once had a friend go through this experience and he was perplexed as to which path to take. He was the one to instigate a job search process, so I was a little surprised there was even a decision to be made. After all, once you start a job search, it’s likely you have already decided, for whatever reason, that it is time to go. The counter-offer covered both money and responsibility. Even long-term growth potential. My friend had a long list of concerns, but in the end, I asked a simple question: “When you drive to work each day, what is it you want to do when you get there?”
In other words, no two jobs or companies are exactly the same. When the current company offers you reasons to stay, you need to remind yourself why you wanted to leave. Will those issues be addressed? Even if there are promises to address them, will they be able to live up to their intentions? Does past performance indicate they are true to their word? Without an employment contract, their word is all you have.
Just remember, money and title are nice. But 40-70+ hours of work per week is a long time to spend doing something (or being somewhere) you don’t enjoy. Most people want to accomplish something professionally. Be sure to consider which opportunity truly offers this chance?
The Current Employer Perspective
No one likes to lose good employees. Especially if we have groomed them, trained them, and depended on them for a long time. However, when an employee makes the hard decision to leave, you must accept you missed the boat somewhere and didn’t address the issues along the way. Trying to band-aid the situation by keeping them on board will likely prove to be temporary. The joy of a raise and new title is short-lived in the working world. Six months later, they will realize they still want to move on.
Sometimes the boss offers a counter just to protect their own reputation. Are you the first to leave the group in a while, or part of a series of folks leaving? Is the timing really bad for the company? You need to assess why the offer is being presented. Is it simply because you are too good to lose? And if so, why did it take a resignation to prompt this kind of action?
If you accept the counter, you should realize that some companies will start a search for a replacement anticipating your future departure. This is a disastrous situation as you may be potentially fired (or overlooked for future promotions). Instead of people moving on and new people moving in allowing for growth for all involved, the situation turns stagnant, and sometimes unfriendly.
The New Employer Perspective
No company has time to waste in a job search. They do not like interviewing candidates who turn out to be just “kicking the tires” and “seeing what’s out there.” They want to meet candidates who are ready to join their team, not consider it.
When a candidate rejects an offer to stay where they are, the relationship between the two is strained or severed. In essence, the company feels the candidate was not honest during the process.This impression is all they remember (and likely marked in their records/database).
If you are only curious about opportunities at a company, take one of their current (or past) employees out to lunch so you can get a true perspective of what it’s like to work there.
When considering whether you want to leave, make a sound decision. Ask yourself right at the start, “If my company countered an equal offer, would I consider it? And why?” You may just need to have a heart-to-heart with your boss and ask how you can improve your current situation through increased responsibility or redirection of your role. If you do decide to leave, don’t look back unless you’re absolutely certain your old job will become better than the new job.
Recently, I wrote an article for Job-Hunt.org regarding the value of references and how to make them an effective part of your job search. Many job seekers see references as a just a minor piece of the puzzle. But in reality, references can sometimes be the “tipping point” to you whether you get the job.
How you prepare them for the call from the hiring manager or recruiter can make all the difference. Take a look at this article to make sure you’re doing all that you should. And as always, feel free to share your own tips and thoughts in the comment section on this blog entry to share with others.
Most recruiters are pretty good at reviewing resumes carefully and looking for any yellow flags before engaging with you. Before presenting you to their clients, they need to be sure they understand your full work history. When there is a gap in employment on your resume, they will typically ask about it. In most cases, it is best to have some professional activity filling that gap. In my latest article for job-hunt.org, I discuss different possibilities to consider. As always, feel free to comment on this blog entry with ideas of your own to share with the readers of my blog.
Recently I was interviewed by Peggy McKee, career coach and the CEO of Career Confidential, regarding the challenges of interviewing for an IT-related job. A great deal of what we discussed applies to all interviews, but IT interviews have the opportunity to dive deep into tool knowledge and project experience. In this audio file, you’ll hear our thoughts on technical interviews, specifically:
- Preparing for the interview
- Typical questions to expect
- How to approach the interview and present the right information
Link to audio: What You Need to Know to Get an Information Technology Job
A while back, Peggy and I generated a video discussing proper format for resumes, too.
Link to video: Formatting Your Resume to Be Read!
Peggy’s Web site dedicated to helping job seekers find and get the jobs they want. Career Confidential coaches job seekers through every stage in the job search and interview process, from resumes to interviews to follow up. It specializes in providing job seekers with powerful and customizable tools and techniques through blog articles, training videos, templates, and Webinars.