Last night, while my fellow recruiters were giving a
presentation to a group of graduating IT students, I spent some time with my
son at a local baseball school. I’m
telling you this because I want my co-workers to know that I actually DO think
about the time and effort they put in above and beyond the standard workday to
help people find gainful employment. I’m
also telling you this because I firmly believe that the only way to improve is
to practice. For my son, it means
spending time working on his batting and fielding. For our recruiters, it means spending more
and more time learning how to more effectively identify talent for our client
openings. For job seekers, like the
graduates they met with, it means learning AND practicing the art of the job
search and interview.
An important part of practicing is learning WHAT to practice
and HOW to practice. My son thinks that
he can be a switch hitter. Last night he
had a rude awakening when the coach told him that he could be doing more harm
than good and that he shouldn’t even try to bat lefty until he perfects his
ability to bat as a righty. Together, he
and the coach worked on some drills to improve his batting and by the end of
the night, I could see improvement.
What do you need practice on for your job search? Honestly. Have you talked with someone who can provide you with an independent and
fair assessment of your strengths and weaknesses? Once you have discovered what you need to
work on, have you figured out how to improve those skills?
I had a candidate who was having trouble landing his next
job. He had the skills. He fit the expected salary range. He made an amazing first impression. After I convinced him to come in to do a mock
interview (he didn’t think he needed any practice), we discovered the problem –
he had trouble making eye contact during his interviews. It may not have been a huge problem, but when
he was answering questions about why he had left previous positions, his
behavior may have appeared to be less than honest. If he was interviewing for a management
position, the behavior may have also been perceived as being “weak”.
Once he finally recognized and agreed with my assessment of
the problem, my candidate was able to practice his interviewing with his
friends and relatives. Within two weeks
of our coaching session, he had offers on the table. My clients were quick to note his “confidence”
and his “honesty” during the interview!
I strongly encourage graduating students to talk with counselors
and teachers. Ask for their help in your
job search. There is no greater pride
than that of a teacher who sees a student achieve their goals.
For experienced job-seekers, my suggestion is to reach out
to the “coaches” who may be right in front of you. A trusted co-worker, a former manager, or
even someone you know through a social group or connection can share their tips
and honest opinions with you. Rather
than arguing with constructive criticism, consider the source and thank them
for their honesty.
Our offices are the perfect setting for mock
interviews. We recently had someone who
thought that the purpose of our in-office interview was nothing more than a “meet
and greet” to affirm our understanding of what he wanted in a job. While that is certainly a part of the
process, it is not the purpose of the meeting. Our recruiters are experienced in working with candidates to identify
strengths and weaknesses and in coaching throughout the job-seeking process.
You practice and improve your IT skills every day you’re on
the job. You never really get the chance to “practice” your job-seeking skills
until you find yourself needing those skills the most. We welcome the opportunity to help you hit
your next interview “out of the park”!