Interviewing is Like Dating

I have often run into situations that this statement is true. The act of interviewing like dating can make candidates as well as interviewers act in irrational and even down right crazy ways. Candidates lose perspective and take everything way too personally and interviewers totally lose sight of what is common courtesy and sometimes even common sense.

Here are some real life examples:

A candidate was interviewing for a development job. She was living on one side of the Country and the job was on the other side of the Country. After two very good phone screens,  the recruiter working with the candidate followed up with the company to see if they were ready to fly her out for a face to face. Instead to the recruiter’s surprise, the hiring manager said he had already left the candidate a message that they wanted to make her an offer.

Now you would expect her to think what great news! “They love me so much after two phone screens they want to make me an offer!”

Well think again…

Now compare this to dating, you have been on two dates and suddenly you get a phone call from budding romantic partner saying they love you & they want to move in.

How do you think most people would react?

Nine out of Ten would be a bit freaked out by this. “Will he ask to marry me in a weak?” “Hell I have never even been to where he lives it could be a rat hole?”  “Is he a serial killer?”

And sure enough the candidate freaked out as well saying she was “feeling pressured” asking “is there something wrong with this job”. The recruiter thinking fast worked it out for her to go for a face to face so she could see the area & also the office. But by that time the damage was done. The candidate suddenly got sick, and could not be reached because of a sore throat and could not talk on the phone. Two days later she texted the recruiter she had taken another job.

Lesson learned: Doing things in the right order does matter in interviewing, dating and disarming a bomb. Cutting the blue wire before red can be very dangerous.

Now on the flip side to this often candidates move to fast and talk themselves right out of a job before they even know it is right for them.

For example:  A candidate submits their resume through a recruiter for a sales job. They receive an initial phone screen from human resources. During the call the HR person tells them to their dismay the position requires you to be in the office every day & that the commissions for this job is expected to be 30K less than was represented to them.

Unfortunately it is not that unusual to have HR & the hiring managers have different ideas as to what the job requires or even pays. That is why recruiters are so determined to speak with the hiring manager to take a job order.

Well now back to the example. The candidate in a very upset tone calls the recruiter who set them up for the interview and says that even if they want another interview that he is not interested now as he was lied to about that position was a virtual office & commissions were uncapped.

So after a long conversation the recruiter calms the candidate down enough & assures them that the job is in a virtual office & the pay is uncapped because that’s what the hiring manager said. So a second interview occurs & the candidate actually gets the job.

Lesson Learned: Interviewing & relationships are a work in progress. A job description often evolves as candidates are interviewed & priorities change. Also the truths you have on the first date as you are trying to impress the person in front may be quite a bit different 3 weeks later after you have had two or three dates.

Now besides the dating comparison, both these examples show why having a recruiter is an important component in many hiring processes. Would A-Rod or Payton Manning think of negotiating their own contracts, of course not!

Unfortunately not every company can afford using recruiters or have a strong internal recruiting staff and actually do a good job of hiring on their own. But still there is nothing like having a Jerry Maguire to navigate you through the “” mine field called interviewing.

I know I had you at Hello…

NEVER put your references on your resume!

In theory it seems like a great idea to put your references on your resume as you show that you are liked and respected and have nothing to hide.  That is the upside.

Here is the downside:

Employers cannot legally check your references with out your permission. By putting them on your resume, they can check them without even interviewing you!

Interviewing is a step by step process and checking references is not the first step.
The resume is submitted, the resume is reviewed, and the phone screen occurs, a face to face interview occurs, an offer is extended then references are checked. Sometimes references are check just before a face to face interview or just after, but no matter, it is not the first step.

Interviewing is like buying a car. Would you buy a car just by reading the sticker on the side? No you would sit in it, open the glove compartment, maybe look under the hood and take it for a ride. Your decision would be based on the whole process not just the specs and sticker price.

By putting your references on your resume you give the employer the option to make a decision about you just by reading your resume and by calling one reference without ever getting to know you (looking under the hood) or interviewing you (taking you for test drive).

References are golden! They are not handed out willy-nilly like free fake tattoos at a child’s birthday party. Before a client calls your reference you had better damn well know that they will say the right things and be available when called. And also expect the call from the employer or whoever is calling to ask them the questions.

Imagine because you put your references on your resume and then posted your resume on Monster or Dice or some other job board, your references where called 10 times in a week without your knowledge. By the 10th time this busy executive being called could be a little less positive about you.

References can actually be your competition. If the reference is a co-worker and has similar skills as you, the person reading your resume may also call the references and solicit them for your potential job.

Avoid these potential problems. DO NOT put the names, titles & contact info of your references on your resume. If you must, put at the bottom of the resume “References available upon request”.

Here are 10 tips from a Career Coach to help you find a job.

1. Have a plan:

The difference between one person’s success in a job search and another’s can simply be that the former has a workable plan; though a job seeker may be taking many of the right steps, if he or she does not have a plan, then the plan is incomplete, steps are missed, and the job seeker may give up because he or she does not have enough direction to carry a job search through to completion.

2. Be organized:

There are many methods of organization that you can use to accomplish things. One of the most basic methods is to create a check list each day before you begin your job search to keep you on track. For example:

  • Go on job boards and find jobs 9 – 10 a.m.
  • Go on LinkedIn and find jobs 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Follow up with companies you apply to 11 – 12 a.m.

Map out your day in the best manner you can. Of course, conditions may change, you may get a call for an interview or spend more time on one step or another, but as long as you have some plan in place that keeps you on track, you will have a much better chance of being successful.

3. Track your progress:

During your job search, it is easy to find yourself questioning whether you are being successful or not, especially if you have been looking for a new job for quite a while. An excellent way to keep to measuring your success on your steps along the way is to track your progress. Maintaining a chart or spreadsheet in Microsoft Word or Excel is an excellent measurement tool.

For example:

  • Companies applied today: 25
  • Companies applied to this week: 100
  • Total companies applied to thus far: 325
  • Number of responses: 30
  • Number of phone interviews: 12
  • Number of face to face interviews: 4

Why does keeping track of all these activities and recording specific numbers matter? This method offers you a true representation of how much effort is actually needed to get a job. Based on the example above, this person has averaged 1 face-to-face interview a week, or 4 in a month. These type of numbers will probably not result in getting you a job; 1300 applications in a month would be more likely to produce 4 face-to-face interviews a week. As long as these interviews are indicative of the right jobs for your skill sets, chances are you will be hired.

4. Apply in volume:

If you honestly think that applying to a few jobs online and casually networking to a few other folks will get you a job, then you are sadly mistaken. If this method actually works for you, then you don’t need to be reading this. However, I’m skeptical that anybody can casually look for a professional or management position and actually get hired. But, if you are like most serious job seekers conducting a job search, it is critical to let companies knowing you are looking and are a strong and viable candidate.

5. Diversify your search:

Not that long ago, the most common way to find a job was to read the job section in the newspaper. Now there are several ways to search for a job, and a newspaper is not one that any true job seeker uses. Here are some others that are worth trying:

  • Major job boards like Dice or CareerBuilder.
  • Mega job search engines like indeed, Simply hired or Juju.
  • LinkedIn’s job board.
  • Industry specific job boards. Just put the description of your industry into Google with the word “jobs” or “careers” and you will see that there is a job board specific to your background.
  • Approach companies directly that you would like to work for. Many companies don’t post their jobs but are still hiring.
  • Send your resume to recruiters.

6. Research the companies you apply to:

There are some jobs you may apply to that only stimulate a mild interest, and others you would kill to get. On the positions that most interest you, research the company and the position. You can even Google the hiring manager or contact him or her through LinkedIn, which can be helpful in increasing your chance of actually getting hired if you can talk to the hiring manager directly.

7. Online social networking:

With online social networking, you no longer do you have to go to weekly “business mixers” designated physical location to meet people who could lead you to your next job. It’s much easier than that. Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of other social networking sights provide ways to connect with people for very little if any cost.

8. Follow up with a phone call:

I have often been asked: “I applied for a job recently and got a first interview on the phone, but it has been a week since I got a call from the employer. What do I do?”

It’s simple. Call the employer! Take initiative! What do you have to lose? Get your name in front of the employer. Let the employer know who you are. Be not afraid.

9. Getting a job is sales and marketing:

Your resume is a marketing tool that sells you and gets you an interview. This is the same tool that a salesman uses to sell a product, a collateral, a brochure, a supportive marketing tool. The only real difference is that you are the product.

10. Make getting a job your full time job:

Some years ago, I was given some excellent advice on how to find a job: Make sure that looking for a job becomes your full-time job. If you are already employed, then this would not apply to you, as your full-time job is your job. Unless, of course, it is really important to get another job. If so, then be prepared to hold down two jobs, because “looking for a job becomes your full-time job.” If you are out of work, then it is imperative that you treat your job search as a full-time job. Get up early in the morning, and make your priority looking for a job. If you wake up at 10:00 a.m., and don’t get started looking for a job until after 12:00, then it is obvious why you are not successful in obtaining a job. Enough said.

Carl Schumacher – Career Coach, Executive & Technical Recruiter