Courtship of “X” Company

What is courtship?  A simple definition, the act of wooing a woman. In your job search, it becomes the act of wooing a company to make you a job offer. In your job search, the job offer is the ultimate reward. Back in the day when men courted women, courtship was considered more a career move than a romantic interlude for young men. Why? Because the woman’s property became his when they got married. Therefore courting was taken very seriously – by both sides.

Here are Four Ingredients to Courting Your Next Organization:

1. Action – How much time do you invest in knowing the organization you are targeting for employment? Do your homework. Network your way into the organization, submit a resume to a specific position. Make yourself available for the interviews. Write thank you notes.

2. Time Frame – Set time specific goals to ensure that don’t procrastinate and miss an opportunity.

3. The Pursuit  – This is where the interview comes in. This is where you have the opportunity to make an impression. If you want a positive outcome, the pursuit is the most important ingredient in your courting efforts.

Keys to Successful Pursuit

By definition pursuit means to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish. In this case, that translates into a job offer. Everything you do in the hiring process will either move you closer to your ultimate goal or it will move you out of the process and you will have to begin the pursuit with another organization.

Keys to Consider:

* Preparation! “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This ingredient can not be overemphasized. Prepare answers to potential questions. Practice until you can comfortably discuss who you are and what you bring to the table.

* Rapport is critical. Can you build rapport with the interviewer(s)? You have one opportunity to create a first impression. How you speak, act and look will determine their first impression.

* Can you communicate/articulate your skills and abilities? Knowledge is good, expertise is better. You must be able to articulate your areas of expertise. Examples should be prepared ahead of time.

* Confidence

* Positive Attitude

* Candor  – By definition you should appear unreserved, honest and sincere as you answer questions and discuss your qualifications.

4. Response of the Organization Either they will call you back for additional interviews, make an offer or you will get a “thanks, but no thanks”. Here’s my question: What response are you looking for from your efforts in the job search? Do you really want an offer? If so, what are you willing to do about it? When you answer that question, the pursuit is on!

Recruiters – Friend or Foe?

I have used two recruiters in my career and was hired both times. In both cases, I was contacted by the recruiter. I was not looking for a job the first time I spoke to a recruiter. I was working for Macy’s Department store as a salesperson and I just happened to answer the telephone and within a few weeks I was running a retail store as a manager.

The second time I was found by a recruiter, I was actively looking for a job and a recruiter found my resume online,, and they contacted me. I had actually already accepted another position and about to relocate my family when the recruiter called. The opportunity turned out to be excellent and I accepted the job opportunity. The recruiter did an excellent job communicating with me and the company. I had a very tight window of time that I needed to make a decision. The recruiter help to accelerate the hiring process, and I was prepared for the interview and ultimately received a great offer.

Your preparation is equally important when you are working with a recruiter, as it is when you are working on your own looking for potential job opportunities. Do not minimize your need for preparation at any point during the interview process.

What I like most about recruiters is their ability to help negotiate your new salary. In instances I used a recruiter, the salary exceeded my initial expectations. Should you use a recruiter in your job search? I believe it is an option you should consider. It does not have to be the only option you use in your job search, but I believe that great recruiters can help you find your next job opportunity.

Tips to Remember

1. Do not align yourself with one recruiter. If a recruiter wants you to sign an exclusive contract – say no, and walk away.

2. Do not pay one penny to a recruiter. Their fee should be paid by the organization looking to fill the position.

3. The best way to find a recruiter is through word of mouth. This is where networking is useful. Someone you know, probably knows someone, who knows a great recruiter.

4. Keep in mind the recruiter should have your best interest in mind. You are never at the mercy of the recruiter.

Who’s Interviewing Who?

Approximately, 99.9% of the interviewers you meet during your job search will inevitably ask you, “What questions do you have for me?” Or some reasonable facsimile. They want to know what questions you have and you should have at least three questions.

Why should you ask questions you may ask? Because it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the organization you may potentially be working. What type of organization do you want to work? You should have an idea what that organization looks like, so when you see it you will know it.

My Recommendations on a Few Questions You Can Ask

1. Tell me about the organizational climate. What you are asking about is the environment of the organization. You want to know how employees are treated. Does this organization have a rewards and recognition program? How are employees assessed annually?

2. Ask the interviewer to define success. Define success for this person in the first 30, 60, or 90 days. You are asking them to share what they are looking for this person to accomplish in the first 30, 60, or 90 days. This is extremely important information for you. It will give you knowledge about projects, current or upcoming. It will give you knowledge about what the organization is looking for from this new employee. You then get to determine whether you can meet those expectations.

3. Here is a question for you to ask the hiring manager, potentially your new boss: Tell me a little bit about your leadership style? This question should help you assess whether you want to work for this person.

Here’s a quick story for you:

I was interviewing for a training manager position for a very large company in Cincinnati, OH approximately nine years ago. They flew me out for a day of interviews.

The interview began at 8:00 am with the hiring manager, potentially my new boss.

At about 8:45 am we were winding down and he asked if I had any questions for him. Keep in mind they flew me out the night before and I was scheduled to interview all day, including a lunch interview.

Again, at about 8:45 am, it was my turn and I asked the question: Tell me about your leadership style. The first thing out of his mouth, was “I am a micro manager.”

I was threw with the interview at that point. He didn’t know it, but I knew at 8:45 am that I would not be accepting any offer made by this organization.

Why? Because I will not work for a micro manager. I know my needs, and I know what type of people I work best and a micro manager is not even close.

You may work well with a micro manager and maybe you don’t need space to lead your team, but I know that I do and I was well able to make an informed decision about that organization and the manager that was considering me for the position.

I will add additional questions for you to ask during the interview at another time, but these three should give you a little more insight.

For Managers Only – Candidate Blueprint

Who are you looking for to fill your open position? Creating a candidate blueprint will help you recognize the person for the job. It is important for you to identify the specific characteristics you are looking for from the candidate pool. Let’s consider an Administrative Assistant position you have open in your organization.Here are some specific items to help you create the candidate blueprint:

Identify the number of years the next candidate should have in order to fill the position. How much experience should the candidate have as an Administrative Assistant? Depending on the person or people this candidate will support and interact with on a daily basis, should help you narrow the level of experience you are looking for.

What personality traits or characteristics should the candidate possess? This is very important for you to determine before you meet one candidate. The value of creating the blueprint is to help you narrow down who and what you are looking for in the next Administrative Assistant.

How much education are you looking for from this candidate? This can be tied to experience.

What skills and abilities are you looking for from your next Administrative Assistant?

No matter who you are looking for, creating a Candidate Blueprint will help you recognize the person you are looking for when they walk in the door.

Life Happens Everyday!

Life happens every single day of your life. What does that mean? And what does it have to do with your job search? I have been sick over the past couple of days, which for me is very unusual. I work hard to keep myself physically and mentally healthy. I let my guard down, and wham I have a bad case of strep throat that hit me like a ton of bricks.

It got me thinking about what I would do if I had an interview scheduled? Would you call and reschedule the interview or would I go? What would you do?

Here’s my two cents: If you are scheduled for an interview, you must do everything in your power to keep the interview. Especially if it is a first interview, or a second interview with the hiring manager. If you snooze, you may lose in this case. There will be others in the hiring process/interview process with you. You missed your interview or they reschedule your interview and you may have just given someone the upper hand in this process.

First impressions are lasting. Your inability to make the interview may inconvenience them and therefore create a negative perception about you. No matter how real the situation is for you, the organization has the upper hand here. It is difficult to overcome a negative perception, even if the situation is real for you.

If you wake up sick or find that you are under the weather in the middle of your day, gut it out. Take two aspirin and get to the interview. If you have done your homework prior to the interview, talk to yourself, positive thoughts about your skills and abilities, your ability to build rapport. And then go for it! You may surprise yourself, the adrenaline will kick in and you will have a great interview. I am a firm believer in “if you think you can’t your right!” In other words, it’s all in your head.

This does not minimize the fact that you might really be sick. It comes down to, do you really want the job? If the answer is “YES”, then you do not have the luxury to reschedule the interview.