What To Do When the Executive-Search Consultant Calls You

 

When the Executive-Search Consultant Calls You

The phone rings at 4:30 in the afternoon, and it’s Tom Headhunter, dropping upon you a tempting position that’s a “must” career move. At the end of 10 minutes of talk, you know little of the position and nothing of Tom Headhunter. What do you do? How do you decide if this position–and this person–are worth doing business with?

It’s hard, because you don’t want to be taken for a ride into a vast unknown, risking your confidentiality and relationship with your current employer–and perhaps other executive-search consultants. Just the same, you don’t want to hastily turn Mr. Headhunter aside. You could gain some value in the position and the potential relationship. When these cold calls come in, most executive search consultants advise the following:

First Things First – Interview the Executive Search Consultant
Interviewing the executive-search consultant may sound like an odd way to turn the tables, but start with a few qualifying questions to the consultant before moving on. Find out:

  • Who the executive search consultant is/what firm he or she represents. An executive-search consultant should disclose his or her firm and whether it’s a contingency or retainer firm. Be skeptical if the consultant won’t disclose. Don’t necessarily expect him or her to identify the client hiring firm, however. While you may get that information from the consultant, you often won’t as he or she has been instructed not to divulge.
  • Background in field. Ask the recruiter how long he or she has been in the firm and industry, what types of placements and clients he or she handles. Specific names of client employers are better, but you may not get them. Just as the executive-search consultant will want to know more about you, you should know more about the headhunter before proceeding. Look for competence, professionalism, and experience in the field of specialty. Avoid the used-car salesman type who tries to pry you loose to nab a quick commission.
  • Learn the executive -search consultant’s process. Ask a few questions about how he or she conducts business.

Don’t Commit to Anything
Be careful not to go too far down the path in the first call. Yes, an executive-search consultant’s time is important, and if you’re talking to one of the industry top names on the phone, you could benefit if you keep going. Preferably, though, gather some information, start the relationship, and then step aside. “I’ll get back to you” is a good line to keep in mind.

What do you do before getting back to the executive-search consultant?

  • First, think through everything that was said. Does the position really sound like a fit for your experiences and objectives? Most people get excited, even emotional, at the prospect of an employer wanting them. Let this emotion subside and discern whether you really want to be wanted in this situation. At the risk of a tenuous analogy, think through your dating experiences.
  • Do your own research. Look up the recruiting firm online. Does the firm indeed specialize in your industry? Has it been around for a while, and is it a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants or other accrediting organizations? Look at its Web site. What types of positions does it deal with? What type of clients, if it discloses? Does the site and its message convey a professional tone and manner, or is it sales-y?
  • Then, use your network. Talk to peers, colleagues, and executive search consultants if you know any. Talk to people outside your organization but in your industry. Have they heard of or dealt with the executive search consultant or his or her firm? Do your contacts know what kind of clients this executive search consultant typically works with?

After satisfying yourself with these answers, call the executive-search consultant back. Getting comfortable with the consultant may take you minutes or days, but doing so is important. Whether you initiate an executive-search consultant relationship this way or by contacting the consultant initially, the next step is to work with that executive -search consultant toward a productive and effective job placement.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

How to Be ‘Found’ by Executive-Search Consultants

Visibility in the corporate world can be tough to attain, but you need it if you want executive-search consultants to find you. A significant number of your achievements might be considered “company confidential” – you can’t simply write an article describing your formula for adding 10 percent to your company’s gross profit margin. But if you get your name out there professionally, executive-search consultants will find you. Here are some of the most effective ways to get both internal and external publicity:

Get Known Inside Your Company

How do you build your internal image? Achievement is probably the best way to become known, but you can’t hide your light under a bushel basket; you must promote your achievements.

  • Write articles. Most companies have internal communication vehicles, sometimes print publications, but increasingly intranets, blogs, e-mailed newsletters, and company Web pages highlighting accomplishments and individual achievements. Editors are always looking for good material.
  • Take on big projects. When your employer seeks someone to lead the worldwide customer-satisfaction program, take it on! Volunteering means hard work but also leads to visibility and an ever-more-rapid escalation of your stock among peers. Eventually people outside the organization will learn of your achievements, whether through networks or a more direct spotlight on what you’re doing.
  • Speak. Speaking disseminates your expertise outside the organization as well as inside. Build that traveling road show for your department, and take it around the world or to the sales force. Represent your group in important strategy-setting meetings or customer visits.
  • Hold conferences, webinars, and meetings. A great way to gain visibility and show leadership is to offer to host or hold meetings to resolve important issues or design major strategic breakthroughs. Most of the time, your colleagues or managers will appreciate your going above and beyond, and the reputation you’ll gain as leader, organizer, and solver will promote your brand.

And, Get Known to the World
Getting noticed means making yourself noticeable. Sounds like common sense, but many competent professionals sit around and wait for their break. Bad practice! If you get lucky or are particularly good, you might get noticed that way. Just as magazine and newspaper editors are always hungry for material, so too are meeting planners, seminar leaders, associations, and other venues eager for material and leadership. If you have something to offer, you’ll get the chance. Your contribution doesn’t have to be breakthrough rocket science. Sharing even small but differentiated successes–or even successfully applying an industry best practice–will often get you there. And in some venues, all you need to do is make the effort. Here are some of the ways to get external visibility:

  • Be active in industry or trade associations. Participate actively, or better yet, take leadership positions, in these organizations. Networking opportunities abound, and executive-search consultants read Web sites and printed material with your name on it. If you host meetings, find extraordinary speakers, speak yourself, edit or help with the newsletter, and go outside to find other excellence. Attend trade shows and organization events. Represent your company and staff your booth. Write papers, build knowledge and research.
  • Speak. Offer to speak at seminars. You usually won’t get paid, though the organization that invites you will likely pay for your travel. External publicity begets internal publicity. Word gets around that you presented at the industry conference. More importantly, from a recruiting standpoint, executive-search consultants, particularly specialists, know who is talking because they follow the industry. Seeing your name, they will attempt to learn more about you, and may even try to see you speak or meet you.
  • Write articles and be an expert source for the media. Writing articles produces much the same results as speaking. You get a chance to gel your thoughts and accomplishments into reader-friendly form, and your name and accomplishments get out there for the world–and executive-search consultants–to see. Get quoted by offering your thoughts, ideas, and opinions to journalists and reporters. Offer yourself as an expert to the media. Let local, regional–and even national–media editors know you’re willing to be interviewed and quoted on topics on which you’re an authority.
  • Be active in your community. Volunteer work, civic service, and community activity provide evidence of leadership and effort beyond the normal course of duty, not to mention good opportunities for networking. Getting involved in local government, civic organizations, arts communities, charities, and the like can be well worth your time as you build your brand with executive-search consultants.
  • Offer your services to the higher-education community. Make yourself available as a guest lecturer for clubs, organizations, and classes at local colleges and universities. Colleges embrace real-world business experience in the classroom, even from those lacking advanced degrees. Institutions of higher learning usually publicize guest presentations.
  • Serve on advisory boards and boards of directors. Jump at invitations to join and participate on a corporate or nonprofit board, either in a decision-making or advisory capacity.

Online Presence
A branded online presence is vitally important. Here are a few ways to cultivate a presence:

  • Establish a profile on a few key social-media sites, especially LinkedIn.
  • Post and comment on key sites ¬– LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Show yourself to be a thought-leader.
  • Consider constructing a professional Web site with a portfolio in which you can publish all your articles, speeches, and more. Buy a Web domain with your name as its centerpiece: SallySanderson.com, for example. You can also hire a Web designer to build your site.
  • Start (and regularly maintain) a blog and comment on the blogs of others.

Final Thoughts
Essentially, you are in charge of MARKETING yourself, and getting noticed means doing some good marketing. Bottom line–you must build yourself as a brand through positioning yourself well and creating visibility. In doing so, you’ll not only get on the radar screen, but you’ll get there with a strong, clear image that is compelling to the executive-search consultant–and client employers.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

Why You Need a Targeted Job Search

Target Audience 3d words in an open door to illustrate searching for and finding niche prospects and clients through advertising and marketingThe idea of pinpointing and then refining your target market of employers is an overwhelming concept for most. A bigger universe intuitively seems more likely to result in employer interest. “If I send out my resume to as many employers as I can,” the mentality goes, “surely some of them will be interested in me.” But the opposite is true: The more you funnel the universe of employers into a laser-focused, precise, narrow segment of those who would love to hire you, the more successful you’ll be.

To understand the importance of target marketing in your job search, let’s first define a target market: “A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services,” says Entrepreneur.com.

Adapted for a job-seeker, that would be: “A specific group of employers at which a job-seeker aims his or her talents and services.”

Here’s what a target market is not (even though some marketers of products and services mistakenly define their target markets this way): “Anyone interested in my products or services.”

Here’s how the marketing process works for those marketers who define their target market as “anyone interested in my products or services:”

The marketer creates advertising or promotional material and then disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in my products or services.”

This process may have a familiar ring to job-seekers because it is essentially the way most of them conduct their job searches:

The job-seekers create advertising or promotional material – in the form of a resume and usually a cover letter – and disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in ‘me as a product and the services I offer,’” typically employers who have posted vacancies on job boards or advertised openings in other media.

Smart marketers know that both of these approaches are backward. If you want to sell a product, you don’t create the product first and then go to stores hoping people buy it. You’d first do research. You would find out who would use the product, what customers are looking for in this kind of product, how this product would help them, how you’d get it to market, and what the packaging looks like. Once you understand that, you would perfect the product and go to market.

Just as no universal products appeal to all consumers, no universal job-seeker appeals to all employers. Neither jobs nor employers are one-size-fits-all. Savvy job-seekers survey the universe of employers to determine how to break the market down into a more manageable subset of employers that will be keenly attracted to what the job-seeker has to offer.

The proven strategy of target marketing enables the marketer or job-seeker to reach the customers/employers whose needs are most likely to be filled by the entity being marketed. That’s a big reason to use target marketing in the job search – but just a few of the other reasons include:

  • It’s more efficient. Yes, target marketing requires a big investment in front-end research. But that investment pays off when the job-seeker is productively going on interviews instead of sitting on his or her posterior by the computer uploading resumes to employers who might be interested and waiting for hiring managers to call.
  • It targets the portion of the job market most likely to hire. A huge number of jobs aren’t advertised. Employers hold back on publicizing vacancies for all kinds of reasons, but if you can get in on the pipeline of an unpublicized opening, you’ll have a huge advantage over the vast hordes responding to job postings.
  • Through target marketing, you’ll be a better fit and happier with the employer at which you land than if you took your chances with answering ads. Since you’ve carefully vetted each employer in your target market, you know you’re a good match and you fit the organizational culture. The outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison notes that 70 percent of its clients get new jobs through target-market methods, a figure consistent with other studies.

These steps of identifying and narrowing the market are part of a process that also includes approaching employers, developing and proposing solutions to them, handling their objections, closing the sale, and following up.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

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Have You Done Your Homework? When an Interviewer Asks What You Know About the Company

What Do I Need to Know words in 3d letters beside a thinker wondering about information he must have for a job, task or learning in education

One of the most common tactics interviewers apply when interviewing candidates is to see whether you’ve researched the organization before the interview. Here’s a guide for responding to company-knowledge questions.

Interviewer motivation for asking: Quite simply, the interviewer wants to know that you’ve done your homework. The employer expects you to come into the interview with thorough knowledge of the organization and the position. The interviewer wants you to know the organization well enough so that you also know what you can contribute and perhaps how you can respond to the employer’s issues and challenges. The degree to which you’ve researched the employer shows your level of interest in the job. The interviewer may also ask you about the geographic area in which the organization is located if relocation is part of the job.

Strategy for response: Having done your due diligence and performed extensive research on the employer and the job, showcase that knowledge in your responses. Be prepared to demonstrate not only what you know about the organization, position, and geographic area, but also what you like about them. When asked about the contribution you can bring to the employer, relate one of your accomplishments to a need that your research has told you this organization has. If you are asked about solving a company problem, be sure your research has given you sufficient background about the issue before responding. If it has not, ask the interviewer questions (such as finding out what approaches have been applied to this problem in the past and why they haven’t worked) to get sufficient information. Don’t assume that a solution that worked in one of your past positions will automatically work for this employer.

Sample questions in this subject area:

  • Tell me what you know about our company.
  • Why did you decide to seek a position in this company?
  • Why are you seeking this position?
  • Why do you think you might like to live and work in the community in which our company is located?
  • If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • What suggestions do you have for our organization?
  • What are your expectations for this position?
  • What do you expect to contribute to our organization?
  • What changes would you make in the organization?
  • What can you tell me about our organization’s …
    • Size?
    • Key stakeholders?
    • History?
    • Revenues?
    • Products/services?
    • Mission statement?
    • Most recent media releases?
    • Competitors? News about the competitors?

Sample responses for this subject area:

Question: Why do you think you might like to live and work in the community in which
our company is located?

Response: The great thing about Bentonville is that the city is a microcosm of WalMart’s strengths, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the company. Bentonville, like many places across the U.S., has changed dramatically since the time when the first WalMart store opened there. In fact, just in the past 40 years or so, the population has more than quadrupled–going from a rural community of about 5,000 people in the 1970s to more than 20,000 today. While still the county seat, the town has seen the development of upscale neighborhoods and shopping centers. Just like the town, WalMart’s growth and expansion over the past 40 years has brought amazing success, but also many new challenges, especially as the traditional markets become saturated and the company expands into new and unchartered territory. Thus, driving around Bentonville and talking with the townspeople will not only be a fun and challenging experience–as any move to a new town is–but I believe the experience can also help foster new strategic ideas for helping WalMart achieve even greater success.

Final Thoughts

Never neglect this important research facet of job-interviewing. The Internet puts just about everything you’d need to know at your fingertips. Don’t forget, too, that your research can include gathering insights from people who already work for the organization.

If you need help with your job search, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

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3 Ways to Tap into a Pipeline Job

Now that you have the skinny on the unpublicized job market, let’s look at how you can break into it. When job-seekers search for new jobs, one of the most important elements of a successful search is developing job leads. How can you find a consistent source for open jobs in your career field? The answer, of course, is that you cannot. No one consistent source exists. There are, however, several methods that all job-seekers should consider using in uncovering the largest number of job leads.

While other ways of unearthing unadvertised jobs exist, the key to mining the unpublicized job market is deploying strategies that break you, the candidate, into the middle of the hiring process – before positions are publicly known. Even better for you as a job-seeker, if you can make a strong case for your fit with an unadvertised position, you’ll face much less competition from other job- seekers, immediately improving the chances that you’ll get a job interview.

Networking

The No. 1 reason networking is so important and effective is that, as we’ve seen, so many jobs are not made public – through advertising or other means. One of the best ways a job-seeker can find out about these jobs is through word-of-mouth. Networking is a highly effective way for job-seekers to hear word-of-mouth news of unadvertised vacancies. These vacancies may eventually be publicized, but most jobs start out hidden, and only the decision-maker knows.

More job leads are developed/discovered through networking than any other method. Networking involves using the vast numbers of people that you know – your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, vendors, associates, and others – as information sources for job leads.

Networking is simply about building and maintaining relationships with the people around us. The more people we know – and the more people the folks we know are connected with – the more powerful our network. Remember to not only maintain your current network, but strive to regularly add new contacts – especially those who work for prospective future employers.

When you’re ready to seek that next job, the simple way of uncovering unpublicized job opportunities and leads is by asking people in your network what advice they might offer for someone seeking the type of job you’re looking for. Keys to success include knowing exactly the type of job you seek and asking your network contacts not for a job, but rather for information, advice, and referrals that may lead to a job. These conversations may reveal information about pipeline jobs.

Pipeline Jobs

As we saw in Part 1 of this series, a pipeline job is a vacancy that an employer is in the process of creating but is not yet official. Once the job is official, the hiring manager may ask around within the organization for referrals of qualified candidates before making the vacancy public.

As we noted in the Part 1, many hiring managers prefer getting internal referrals because once they publicize the job, they know they will be bombarded with resumes, many from unqualified candidates. They will then have to process those resumes. Referrals from known and trusted employees are always preferable.

Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

Many employers have highly developed employee-referral programs and reward workers for suggesting a hire. Social media has fast-tracked the employee-referral process and vastly increased its reach.

3 Ways to Disrupt the Pipeline

    1. Referral Cover Letter: Once you have a network contact who has told you about a pipeline job, one effective way to approach the hiring manager is with a referral cover letter. The referral cover letter is an extremely effective type of cover letter that springs from networking efforts. The referral letter uses a name-dropping tactic as early as possible in the letter to attract the reader’s attention and prompt an interview. The opening sentence for a sample referral follows:Dear Mr. Fouche,Nancy Jones of Green & Associates Advertising suggested I contact you regarding possible public-relations opportunities in your firm.
    2. Informational interview: This technique can be effective even if the job for you hasn’t even entered the pipeline. Research the needs of targeted employers. Especially conduct research into recent news stories about the organization (Is the company expanding to new markets? Introducing a new product? It will likely need to hire). Another way is by networking with organization insiders and asking them about company needs and challenges. But the best way is through informational interviewing, a sub-set of networking in which you conduct brief interviews with people inside targeted organizations and ask what keeps them up at night.Informational interviewing is exactly what it sounds like – interviewing designed to yield the information you need to choose a career path, learn how to break in, and find out if you have what it takes to succeed. It’s a highly focused conversation with someone in your career field who can provide you with key information, such as the issues and needs a given employer is facing. While an informational interview is not a job interview, the information gleaned can be used later in your approach to an employer. Armed with knowledge about problems and needs within an organization, you can propose ways that you can meet those needs and solve those problems.
    3. Creating Your Own Job based on Employer Needs: This technique may enable you to get a pipeline job before it even enters the pipeline is trying to create a job for yourself – where one currently doesn’t exist – based on a deeper exploration of the employer’s needs or problems. With this technique, the job-seeker identifies the employer’s needs and/or problems and proposes that the employer create a job that the job-seeker will then fill and meet the needs or solve the problems.

Finally, realize that sometimes a referral doesn’t pay off immediately or directly but lays the groundwork for a future opportunity. Keep following up on pipeline jobs.

If you need help tapping into those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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Nabbing a Job While It’s Still in the Pipeline

Have you ever conducted a job-search and thought to yourself that there must be more job openings than those found through online job searches? Guess what? You’re right! If you are simply searching online, you are missing out on as many as four times the job leads – job leads that go unposted publicly.

A significant reason for not publicizing an opening is that the job is still in the pipeline. The late career-marketing coach Mark Hovind asserted that most jobs start out hidden, known only to the decision-maker. The employer recognizes a need and decides to create a job, but the vacancy, for various reasons, is not official. Perhaps the skills needed for the job haven’t been identified. Maybe the job description hasn’t been developed. Possibly the budget to fund the position hasn’t yet been worked out. Whatever the reason, the opening isn’t ready for prime time and can’t yet be publicized.

The hiring process is a long and winding road – as long as 12-18 months – that begins when a hiring manager requests a new position or when a current employee leaves his or her current position. The first step is getting approval to fund (or continue funding) the position and approving the recruitment plan. What happens next is a multi-stage process that eventually leads to a public job posting if all other measures are unsuccessful.

During the initial time of the request the manager starts asking around among his or her trusted employees for referrals. After all, if you were the manager, wouldn’t you rather hire someone known and recommended to you via a colleague than an anonymous candidate submitting a resume?

Once funding has been approved, the next step is an internal job posting, again with the intent of finding an internal candidate to promote and usually publicized internally for about 7-10 days. At this stage, hiring managers may also contact their network and inquire about possible external candidates (referrals).

This stage is especially crucial for a candidate who wants to get in on an opportunity early. Only after failing to find someone to fill the need through referrals will the manager write a job description and begin to advertise the job.

The implication for the job-seeker is that a strong, thriving network can alert you to pipeline jobs. The goal is to reach hiring managers before they opt to publicize the opening. If you are constantly adding contacts to your network, and telling members of your network what you’re looking for, sooner or later, you will likely encounter a network contact who responds with, “Oh, my company is planning to hire someone like you, but the job hasn’t been posted yet.” When that happens, you can ask your contact to refer you to the hiring manager, perhaps even deliver your resume personally to him or her.

The beauty of this scenario is that if you make contact with the hiring manager while the job is still in the pipeline, you will have virtually no competition. Once the hiring manager starts asking for internal referrals – and especially when he or she posts the position to the public – competition will increase exponentially.

If you need help finding those pipeline jobs, consider coaching with us.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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Why You Must Develop a Target Market of Employers for Your Job Search

As a job seeker, you are probably tempted to cast a wide net and apply for as many diverse positions as possible. But you’ll be wasting your time if you do. You will be much better off if you can identify and narrow your target market.

The idea of pinpointing and then refining your target market of employers is a scary prospect for most job seekers. A bigger universe intuitively seems more likely to result in employer interest. “If I send out my resume to as many employers as I can,” the mentality goes, “surely some of them will be interested in me.” But the opposite is true: The more you funnel the universe of employers into a laser-focused, precise, narrow segment of those who would love to hire you, the more successful you’ll be.

To understand the importance of target marketing in your job search, let’s first define a target market:

“A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services,” says Entrepreneur.com.

Adapted for a job seeker, that would be: “A specific group of employers at which a job- seeker aims his or her talents and services.”

Here’s what a target market is not (even though some marketers of products and services mistakenly define their target markets this way): “Anyone interested in my products or services.”

Here’s how the marketing process works for those marketers who define their target market as “anyone interested in my products or services:” The marketer creates advertising or promotional material and then disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in my products or services.”

This process may have a familiar ring to job seekers because it is essentially the way most of them conduct their job searches. The job-seeker creates advertising or promotional material – in the form of a resume and usually a cover letter – and disseminates it to those perceived as “anyone interested in ‘me as a product and the services I offer,’” typically employers who have posted vacancies on job boards or advertised openings in other media.

Smart marketers know that both of these approaches are backward. Here’s how consultant Vicki Brackett characterizes this backwards approach in Meridith Levinson’s article on CIO.com:

“If we were going to sell an energy drink, we wouldn’t create the energy drink and then go to stores hoping they’ll buy it. We’d first do research. We’d find out who would drink the energy drink, what they’re looking for in an energy drink, how it would help them, how we’d get it to market, and what the packaging looks like. Once we understand that, we perfect the beverage and go to market.”

Just as no universal product appeals to all consumers, no universal job seeker appeals to all employers.

Neither jobs nor employers are one-size-fits-all. Savvy job seekers survey the universe of employers to determine how to break the market down into a more manageable subset of employers who will be keenly attracted to what the job seeker has to offer.

The proven strategy of target marketing enables the marketer or job seeker to reach the customers/employers whose needs are most likely to be filled by the entity being marketed. That’s a big reason to use target marketing in the job search – but just a few of the other reasons include:

  • It’s more efficient. Yes, target marketing requires a big investment in front-end research. But that investment pays off when the job seeker is productively going on interviews instead of sitting on his or her posterior by the computer uploading resumes to employers who might be interested – and then waiting for hiring managers to call.
  • It targets the portion of the job market most likely to hire. Huge numbers of jobs aren’t advertised. Employers hold back on publicizing vacancies for all kinds of reasons, but if you can get in on the pipeline of an unpublicized opening, you’ll have a huge advantage over the vast hordes responding to job postings and want ads.
  • Through target marketing, you’ll be a better fit and happier with the employer at which you land than if you took your chances with answering ads. Since you’ve carefully vetted each employer in your target market, you know you’re a good match, and you fit the organizational culture. The outplacement firm Lee Hecht Harrison notes that 70 percent of its clients get new jobs through target-market methods, a figure consistent with other studies.

A targeted job search is clearly the way to go.

If you need help in developing a target market of potential employers, schedule a call using this link http://www.harveycareers.com/discussion,
or email beverly@harveycareers.com or call 386-749-3111.

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When the Employer Invites You to Sell Yourself

Employers often ask questions early in the interview process that opens the door to a selling opportunity.

The interviewer’s motivation in many cases is to decide whether to move you forward in the interview process; some of these questions are designed to screen you out if you don’t fit the criteria for the responses the employer seeks.

Another motivation is to break the ice, put you at ease (that’s the theory, though questions like “Tell me about yourself” can be nerve-wracking), and help the interviewer learn more about you. These questions also challenge you to explain why you are here – why are you interviewing for this job. That challenge is an opportunity to sell yourself.

Strategy for response

Because questions in the sell-yourself category can cover a wide territory. Here’s a strategy that fits virtually all of these questions:

  • Identify one to three top selling points that you would like to communicate to the interviewer with each response. Be sure these selling points are relevant to the position you’re interviewing for (you’ll know because of the research you’ve done).
  • Relate each response specifically to the organization at which you’re interviewing and the position you’re interviewing for. For example, the desired response to the request “describe your ideal job” is that your ideal job is the job you’re interviewing for. Describe the elements of the organization and position that perfectly fit your qualifications and attributes. Similarly, the best way to answer the question “What are your strengths?” is to list strengths relevant to the employer and the position.
  • Quantify whenever possible. In your “tell me about yourself” response, for example, use metrics such as percentage by which you’ve increased revenue or reduced costs, number of projects you’ve brought in on time and under budget,

Sample questions in this subject area:

  • Tell me about yourself/How would you describe yourself?
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • What do you want in your next job?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What separates you from your colleagues?
  • Why do you believe you are the best candidate for this position?
  • How will we know we’ve made the right decision by hiring you?
  • What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty on the job?
  • Why shouldn’t we hire you?
  • What one area do you really need to work on in your career to become more effective on a day-to-day basis?
  • If you could change something about your [life] [career], what would it be?
  • Do you have a geographic preference?
  • Would it be a problem for you to relocate?
  • How much travel are you willing to do for the job?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in your job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Tell me about your greatest strength, and why it will benefit our company.

Sample response for this subject area:

Question: Why should we hire you?

Response: My abilities in so many areas – sales, marketing, promotions, and management – will be invaluable for your company, including my experience working with people with diverse backgrounds and at different levels, my background working with various clients, my work overseeing sales teams, my eye for detail, the fact that I strive to do the best job possible at all times. I’m also reliable, loyal, and trustworthy … and if you hire me, you will have a team player who will add to the integrity and quality of your sales force for years to come. As an example of the kind of results I get that would justify your hiring me: Sales were down in the electronics department of the retail store at which I worked as an assistant manager. The perception was that our products were inferior to a competitor. I took the initiative to create excitement at the store level to increase sales. I attained buy-in from my manager so that I could run a contest. I collected sales data from the store on our products and used that information to back the need for this contest. My manager loved the idea. He thought it was exciting and loved the fact that I provided him with details on how I planned to track the sales process. In the end, I increased sales for that month by 110 percent, which was phenomenal.

If you need help in responding to these questions, schedule a call using this link http://www.harveycareers.com/discussion to discuss our coaching programs or give us a call at 386-749-3111.

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Does Your Resume Lack Focus? How to Tailor it to Your Dream Job

⇒ Can the readers of your resume discern – by glancing at it for just a few seconds – what you want to do in your next job and the most important selling point(s) you bring to that job?  If not, you’ve committed the blunder of an unfocused resume.

To ensure a sharp focus, you will likely need to create a couple of versions of your resume, building one or more boilerplate versions that you then customize to each specific position. That doesn’t mean you have to rewrite your resume for each opening, but you do need to tweak it and focus it toward the specific opportunity to show that you are a fit for any vacancy to which you send your resume. You’ll be moving things around, adjusting words and phrases, and adding a focus and dimension to your resume that will make both hiring managers and applicant-screening software programs take notice.

By tailoring your resume to each job, each employer, you’ll appear better qualified – and a better fit – than those job seekers who do not tailor their resumes.

Your resume must be a collection of accomplishments and achievements from your previous work experiences. If your resume is simply a rehash of job duties and responsibilities, no amount of tailoring will help. Presenting your value proposition, skills, accomplishments, qualifications, and other selling points in the best light possible will all come more easily if you have in mind an overall focus for your resume.

The result should be a resume that illustrates your accomplishments in terms that the employer understands, showing how your achievements and qualifications match directly to the requirements and job description of the job you seek.

A broad overview of the steps to a focused, tailored resume follows:

Step 1: Search online for job listings for the job you seek. Once you’ve gathered at least five of these job postings, analyze the common qualifications each employer seeks. Modify your basic resume with this new information, especially keeping note of keywords and phrases and industry jargon/ buzzwords.

Step 2: Once you are ready to apply to job postings, review the job descriptions and required qualifications and make edits to your resume – especially the executive summary. Next, to portray your accomplishments, draw from the wording the employer uses to describe the ideal candidate. Your result should be a resume that mirrors the requirements the employer seeks. Another effective method for branding yourself is with the filename of your resume. Save your resume with the employer’s name in the file name, such JackGreeneResume-Apple. Or include your name and a brief branding label – such as “JackGreene–SupplyChainExecutive.”

Step 3: Nothing resonates more with a hiring manager than reading a resume that uses phrasing that mirrors language used by the employer. A very simple way to add an extra level of effectiveness to your resume is judiciously modifying some of the ways you describe yourself and your experiences using some of the same words and phrases the organization uses to describe itself. (Don’t go overboard here; employers are turned off if you copy and paste huge hunks of job descriptions into your resume).

For example, a job seeker applying for a position with the Walt Disney Company might include words such as “magic,” “dreams,” “innovation,” “excellence” in describing himself or herself.

Spend some time on each prospective employer’s website – and/or review any organizational literature. You’ll want to seek out common words the employer uses to describe its culture, organizational philosophy, and employees. Some employers have amazingly rich career/job sections on their corporate websites that go into great detail about organizational values, culture… and some even include quotes and testimonials from current employees. Take some of the words each employer uses to describe itself and its employees and use those words on your tailored resume.

Step 4: Turn to your network and find leads to people who work in the field – and, ideally, people who work for your targeted employers. If possible, schedule informal discussions or informational interviews so that you can glean even more insider information – and ideally additional insights and keywords that you can use to again modify and sharpen your tailored resume.

There is no excuse to EVER send a generic, untailored resume to a recruiter or employer. Not only will it be a great waste of your time, but you’ll continue to be frustrated with your lack of results. Tailoring your resume is as simple as outlined in this post – and the time and effort to conduct the research you need to dramatically improve your resume is minimal when compared to the better results you’ll get.

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If tailoring your resume makes you uncomfortable, or you simply don’t have time,
consider working with us to manage the process for you.

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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Pre-Employment Screenings and Assessments are Ubiquitous but Need Not be Stress-Inducing

Employers are increasingly using pre-screening and assessment techniques early in the interviewing process, typically after one or more initial phone screenings and before the first face-to-face interview or between the first and second interview. Sometimes they are used only when the field is narrowed down to just a few candidates. Surveys indicate more than 80 percent of Fortune 500s use assessments for executive positions and that small businesses also use them. The use of assessments is growing.

According to those employers who use them, pre-screens and assessments assure the organization of hiring a reliable, qualified manager or executive. Because decision-makers hiring for the C-suite are essentially placing the future of their organizations in candidates’ hands with limited evidence of executives’ ability to perform, testing prospective hires is good business. Assessments can provide information about how well a candidate can handle the position’s required tasks and interact with people within the hiring organization.

Companies that produce pre-hire assessments call the tests accurate predictors of future success or derailment in a new job and work culture.

Experts also point to the objectivity of these methods and the notion that they prevent hiring decision-makers from being influenced by candidate charisma or tendency to say what the employer wants to hear.

Many employers see the use of pre-employment screenings and assessments as the first line of defense against candidates who manipulate their personal information in resumes and other employment communications. Stretching the truth about education and employment on a resume is all too common.

Third-party assessments claim to objectively identify and describe the executive’s job-relevant characteristics, as well as capacity to lead and manage others effectively.

General reasoning or cognitive tests may be used to evaluate how quickly candidates can process new information and evaluate complex scenarios.

A few tips for taking assessments:

  • Candidates should be aware of what they’re getting into before undergoing pre-screens and assessments. Don’t be afraid to request information on the purpose of the assessment, as well as its validity and reliability. Inquire about how your privacy will be safeguarded for retention of the assessment results, along with the test-taking environment.
  • The degree to which you can prepare for pre-screens and assessment varies with the method used. In fact, many assessments are designed so that the user cannot prepare for them. You can, however, ensure that you are well-rested and that you take the assessment in quiet, private surroundings. If the employer requires multiple assessments, avoid assessment burn-out by taking time in between to stretch, get something to drink, and mentally unwind before proceeding to the next assessment.
  • Try to skim the assessment so you have an idea of how much time to devote to each question or section. During the assessment, apply the techniques you normally summon to subdue stress and keep yourself relaxed.
  • In preparation for the questionnaire and essay-style methods, keep a detailed journal of successes and past work accomplishments. Many employers will later check this information with your references.
  • While undergoing the assessment or prescreen, give truthful and detailed responses, rather than trying to “game the test” by making statements you think the employer wants to hear or listing characteristics you wish you had. The employer wants to know how well you will fit in with the organization. You do both yourself and the prospective employer a disservice by presenting yourself inaccurately. You may get hired, but you risk your success and satisfaction by hiding your true self.

Because candidates are matched against benchmarks that demonstrate patterns of successful executives, as well as evaluated for job, team, and culture fit, personality, behavior, values, and attitude, assessments aren’t looking for “right or wrong” answers. This matching process can save both employer and candidate from a bad fit that fails to meet expectations on both sides.

Typically, employers don’t rely on the assessments alone but affirm in interviews whether the candidate might not to be a good fit for the job, team and/or culture. In fact legally, an assessment can’t be the only reason for exclusion; a background check, references, work history, industry fit, communication skills, intelligence, the interview, and chemistry enhance the information gained in the assessment. Some experts have said assessments make up about a third of a hiring decision in organizations that use them.

Among the types of pre-screens and assessments that employers may require are:
Predictive Index, which its Web site describes says “predicts primary personality characteristics and cognitive ability [employers] can predict workplace behaviors and on-the-job performance.”
Kolbe A™ Index, which measures a person’s instinctive method of operation, and identifies the ways he or she will be most productive.
Hogan Development Survey, identifies personality-based performance risks and derailers of interpersonal behavior that affect an individual’s leadership style and actions.
• Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is a well-known personality assessment, the use of which in hiring is controversial at best. The Myers-Briggs Web site notes “there are ethical concerns in using it for hiring purposes.”
Simmons Personal Survey, which measures job-related emotional and behavioral tendencies, such as energy, stress, optimism, self-esteem, commitment to work, attention to detail, desire for change, physical courage, self-direction, assertiveness, tolerance, consideration for others, and sociability.
The Executive Achiever, which looks at intelligence, knowledge of leadership skills, and a variety of leadership personality traits.
PXT Select, which gauges cognitive, behavioral, and connative (occupational interests) attributes.
Caliper Profile, which measures more than 25 personality traits that relate to job performance.
Five-factor personality assessments, a variety of assessments that measure the “Big Five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (sometimes known as emotional stability).
DiSC, which profiles four primary behavioral styles (dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness) each with a distinct and predictable pattern of observable behavior.
Key Management Dynamics Assessment from Objective Management Group, designed specifically for the executive team and candidates for executive leadership positions. It measures nine styles and 16 qualities.

If you find that you are getting screened out of the interview process after undergoing pre-screens or assessments, consider coaching with us. 

Give us a call at 386-749-3111
Send us an email at beverly@harveycareers.com
Schedule a call with Beverly at www.harveycareers.com/schedule

 

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

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