Monday, July 21, 2014

What Kind of People Do Companies Want?

My blog is focused on empowering the individual job seeker; that is my stated goal. My aim is not one-sided, I am not anti-corporate or anti-management. For many years, I conduct my work on behalf of both job seekers and company managers who all seek the same objective -- but view it from their own perspective. In the case of this blog entry I want to focus on the company, the hiring side of the process. That which companies claim they want is increasingly at variance with what they do or, more appropriately, the manner and conduct of the interview process is often a clear contradiction – the result of which can leave both sides frustrated and dissatisfied with the end result, or lack thereof.
It is repeated so often we don’t even notice it because it should be obvious and it is confirmed in company marketing materials. What they claim in adverts, at job fairs, on their websites and from the lips of hiring managers themselves, throughout the company, is that they want the best and brightest to join them. They seek to hire the best available talent on the market to join their ranks, but somewhere along the line the reality tells a different story.
In an attempt to better manage the deluge of resumes submitted online, many overwhelmed company HR departments have sought ways to better manage and sort through and thereby reduce down to a manageable number of resumes. Then they further reduce the pool of candidates they interview for further consideration – they simply must. But I contend by doing so they employ practices which actually discourage the innovative and impact players they claim they want, instead producing an opposite effect.
Many companies have determined that inserting psychological profiling into the hiring process is good  and the most direct way to quickly assess and narrow down those most suitable for consideration. For example, an employer might select a group of employees who they think possess the traits representing what they’d like to identify in those seeking employment. This can be a helpful tool but sadly companies have come to over-rely on and ultimately depend on it during the hiring process. So it is inevitable they are predominantly focused on selecting those who walk and talk and most of all think the same. But there is an unintended consequence, in that they miss out on the innovators the company propaganda suggests they want to attract.
Increasingly, psychobabble is more a focus than actual suitability. Yeah, they’ll claim it is all about suitability but that is just a marketing ploy to convince companies that software can do a better job of selection or that psychometric behavioral-based questions are a better measure than to simply meet someone and ask applicants directly, “Okay, I see what you have on your resume, but can you do the job? Tell me your qualifications and why we should hire you and we’ll compare you to other applicants and make a determination.”  Instead, you’ll get a formulaic question as was asked of applicants during a recent assessment center interview with a large international corporation, “If you could choose, what kind of animal would you be?” One applicant for example answered, “A panda”. Their answer was then challenged by the interviewer who said, “Well, that is a lazy animal, isn’t it?” and then sat back to watch and evaluate the applicant who was now on the defensive to explain themselves. Perhaps my reaction is a bit harsh, but I find that exchange as a purposeful attempt meant to degrade and humiliate, with no good purpose other than to ensure an applicant will submit to the interviewer, who is the face of the company. While I am sure there is some pointy-headed academic who can opine about the relevance of that question and how it relates to behavior and the workplace; the reality is that it hasn’t an ounce of value in determining a person’s qualifications for a job – zero. Or another recent trend, fawned over by people who don’t want to be bothered with first-round screening interviews; proclaiming the benefits of video resumes – again, dumb and worthless unless, of course, you are a bureaucrat who seeks to streamline your responsibilities and reduce your exposure to people (even if it is a function of your job description and responsibilities). But I suppose everyone thinks they should be a celebrity and perhaps a video resume will get you your big moment! Sorry, but again, all fluff and no substance – and a lot of time wasted to make it just right.
It should be painfully obvious that the movers and shakers, those who companies claim they most want to attract, will not stand for being treated like a child or diminished by those who ask insipid questions, engaged in time-wasting psychobabble nonsense. To which company managers later scratch their heads wondering why the best and brightest are not banging down their doors.
Yes, there must be systems and procedures in place for companies to properly function but many have gone waaaay overboard, while they rule over their little fiefdoms, more concerned with galvanizing their own job security than acting in a manner that best serves their company. And while some HR “experts” would disagree, wanting to ensure all of those who apply and interview for jobs don’t step out of line and do follow their rituals in an orderly fashion, I’d like to speak about innovation. Without it, nothing evolves or improves; a lack of innovation means stagnation. Innovations are accomplished by straying from convention, by rejecting that which is accepted. People who nervously stand in lines without asking questions, those who worry more about the rules than the objective, are not innovators – nor will they be leaders of any significance - DUH!
If companies are serious about attracting those who can offer the most impact, especially in this current economic malaise as they try to do more with less, they should get involved and witness first-hand those processes the gatekeepers are using to intentionally screen out all but those who they deem to be suitably obedient and fit a mediocre profile.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Whose Rules?

I’ve noticed a lot of advice for job seekers is very direct, about how an individual is supposed to behave or in what manner they should conduct their activities when seeking a job. I myself am not shy about suggesting people be more directly engaged and pro-active, but I have a suggestion; when you read anything you should always take the source into account. True objectivity is rare, and especially when you read articles that project the writer’s own perspective – this is good advice anytime, regardless of the advice or commentary you read, see and hear, because you need to draw your own conclusions from whatever information is offered.
Too much of the advice I see being offered suggests that you should not actively engage or take any significant initiative, as if to do so is breaking the rules. They instead advise you to follow only the strict protocols of the status quo, as if by not attracting any special attention you will gain more attention. This is nonsense and, by the way, whose rules are these anyway – who are they meant to help the most, who benefits? (spoken in a whisper) Let me give you a hint, it isn’t you!
Too often, advice columns and blogs are written by the gate keepers, better known as human resources, whose functions include restricting access; they seek to allow entry only to those who submit and abide by their rules. May I ask the obvious question: Do you really think they have your best interests in mind? Are they at all concerned with empowering you – of course not. Rather they seek to diminish you, dictating their rituals for entrance so as to make their lives easier. Initially, your suitability is of no concern to them if it means they must change their well-worn routines. And until you jump through their hoops, they couldn’t care less about how well qualified you may be for the job. I suggest their priorities are messed up and, as such, identifying the best-qualified applicants is not the prime objective. They have a system and you are going to follow it! With this in mind, how much real value does their advice represent?
Just to illustrate what I am talking about and to have a little fun at their expense, check this out:  

No, please don’t misunderstand me, I have the utmost respect for human resource professionals who are business minded and even more so if they have actual business experience – they are great to work with. But the bureaucrats are altogether another story. And they may possess all sorts of credentials, degrees and certifications, but the vast majority are administrators who’ve assigned themselves importance and, while we’re at it, let’s bust another myth. In reality, other than staffing their own departments, they don’t hire anyone. Indeed they have a role and they should be involved in the process as it relates to initial applicant screening, and again at the end of the process to explain benefits and process paperwork. Otherwise, line managers make the hiring decisions; HR is an admin function – period. Back in the day, they were known as the Personnel Dept. -- that was their proper function, and yet, today the manner by which they insert themselves into the hiring process is actually an obstruction to effective hiring, and especially when trying to attract the best available talent.
So, ladies and gentlemen, what should you do -- obediently play along with the purposeless HR game of sit, roll over, fetch, and beg because they told you to do so, in the hope of being bestowed consideration by those who don’t even make the real decisions that matter? Do you seek out the actual hiring authority who likely speaks your professional language and actually knows better what kind of person they want to hire. Or, rather someone in human resources who is juggling many job descriptions, few or none of which they have any real understanding?
I mean no offense to those who populate human resource departments, most are nice people and they should be treated with the same level of professional courtesy as you would afford anyone else, regardless of how they may treat you. My simple suggestion is that you first attempt to seek out an actual hiring manager to whom you would report in whatever capacity it is you seek to be considered. Regardless of their level of interest they will likely refer you back to human resources. That’s okay – if you are qualified and presented yourself in the best appropriate manner and had something to say that attracted their attention, you’ve succeeded and gone to where so many others fear to tread. And what if HR admonishes you for stepping out of line? Express contrition, be gracious and, after all, it is often easier to ask forgiveness than for permission.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Do Something for Yourself

Last week I suggested you are wasting a lot of time if you are predominantly applying for jobs online, playing the jobs lottery and hoping your number comes up -- this is not a winning strategy by any standard! Before the advent of the internet, snail-mailing lots of resumes was no more effective, but at least back then your envelope did land on the desk of real people and those to whom it was addressed. Currently, in our time, it may be easier and less labor intensive; you can send emails faster and more widely, but that’s a panacea to make yourself feel as if you’re doing something when you aren’t, really. You do realize that by usual methods, following other people’s rules, you are in reality reaching very few real people, so all your efforts amount to 90% smoke and only 10% horsepower. This means very little return for your investment or, to use a better known idiom, you’re not getting much bang for your buck -- for my international readers, not much value for your money.
As I stated in my last blog entry, reflexively responding and submitting your resume in direct response through whatever email address is posted is a mere funnel, it doesn’t mean the hiring manager is seeing or learning about you.  No, it means it’s likely been pulled into an automated system until such time as a low-level HR staffer will sift through and select who they think is appropriate for consideration by whatever guidelines they are given. I say it over and over again – human resources is less human than ever! Regardless, this process benefits them but does little for you. Do you need any more proof that it’s time to retake more control over a process that affects you in a very personal way? If you have even one proactive bone in your body, if you want to take more initiative, then you must adapt your efforts and do something different.   
Company websites rarely list all of the available jobs, this is a fact. So don’t automatically assume there is no opportunity; likely there is not but, even if there is no job matching your skills,  there is that chance they may be on the watch for someone good to add or bring on to replace a poor performer. Many of my placements occur this way so don’t say it isn’t so, I know otherwise. However, if you do seek to respond directly to a company I suggest you do it differently, learn who is the manager of the department and try to get that email address and contact them directly. Yes, there is a chance you may be redirected to HR but at least you can say you were referred by Mr. or Ms. __________, which means you are not just another resume in the stack. The small things matter.
I suggest the same thing if you see a job description on a job portal or job search engine. If it names the company, why send your resume through the third party and why not contact the company directly, as I’ve just described above.
If you see a job / position description on a job portal or search engine with no company identified and posted in a manner as to conceal the company seeking to hire, this is for the sole reason of preventing you from going around whoever listed the job, i.e. employment agencies or a recruiting organization. Here is a simple way to learn what the actual company is; cut and paste a portion of the job description and conduct a search online using not all, but the job description and the job requirements as they are displayed, either together or separately, and see what comes up. It doesn’t work every time but often you’ll find the same description, word for word, on a company website. How can this be, you may ask? Because the job-posting folks simply cut and paste what companies give them.
For those who worry that what I suggest is too audacious, that very view would only demonstrate the depths to which some people have sunk, with so many having been reduced to shivering little Chihuahuas, unable to any longer fend for themselves without first seeking approval - or am I being too harsh? I think it’s like a bit of the movies when there is someone freaking out during a time of trouble and it takes a good slap to get them to refocus. I prefer to think of it as strident but benevolent in nature.
I can offer one more item of proof. Although I am often conducting a search on behalf of a client company, there are times I might look for targets of opportunity, looking to see what’s posted out there. I do exactly what I have described to you to reach the hiring manager to propose they consider someone I represent. Don’t doubt me, these methods work. Consider for a moment that you are a hunter and you eat only what you can kill. During good times of plenty, you eat well with relatively little effort. But when things change and become more difficult and there is less available you have a choice, adapt and adjust your efforts to meet the new circumstance – or starve.
You may have forgotten or never learned how to find a job without the crutch that is the internet; we’ve all succumbed to varying degrees, being dumbed down and atrophied, hypnotized by the screens and monitors into which we stare every day to the point at which we think that thing will get us a job. In reality it has only replaced the library and the postman. Finding a job is still about people – real people, so make an effort to meet some. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Applying Online is Not the Way

How many times have you heard it said, possibly by someone you know who complains, “…there are no jobs”? Well, I don’t entirely agree although there are obviously fewer jobs and according to labor statistics (in the U.S.) a growing number of people have just stopped looking. No doubt it is a tough environment and talk of economic recovery rings hollow and means nothing to those who struggle. But I argue that some people and their flawed assumptions and their efforts, which can only be best described as flaccid and in reality half-hearted, make them their own worst enemy. I suggest it is the misguided belief in faulty and ineffective job search methods, on which the majority rely, which leave many feeling powerless to influence their own destiny.
But before we continue we need to clarify something; there are jobs out there but the term jobs is so general as to be misleading. There are jobs, for which you either are or are not qualified. There are jobs you would not or could not imagine yourself doing -- and then there is the sweet spot, the kind of job you want and seek. And it is this small and incredibly shrinking category of jobs for which everyone is increasingly competing, which is what has everyone concerned – and it is this aspect of the conversations bureaucrats and talking heads want to avoid discussing, at all costs.
Aside from the scarcity of good jobs, making matters worse is the way by which we seek and pursue opportunities that is often a most frustrating, de-humanizing, self-defeating and dead-end effort. It is no wonder people feel helpless and why many have given up. And here’s the worst part, it is by design, meant to dis-empower the vast majority of people. Yep, I said it; it is intentional and designed to restrict your options by preventing you from actually talking to or bothering human resources, much less an actual decision maker. It’s a technological maze intended to force you to speak only when spoken to, move only when you are summoned, and designed by bureaucrats who assign themselves importance and as a result ensure their own job security.
As it is, virtually everyone is looking for work online – it is their sole job-hunting method. When they find a job listing for which they have interest, they submit (I hate that word) their resume and then…wait. If you get a reply it is in the form of an automated response confirming receipt of your resume, telling you your resume will be kept on file and you’ll be contacted if there is any interest. Or you’ll get a notification that the job has been filled, sometimes within a day of applying – which might seem a little odd. I mean, how much more dystopian can things get? Is that all there is, is this all you can do for yourself? Fortunately there are other ways for those who are serious about helping themselves. 
Call me a rebel, but if you want to turn the odds more into your favor, you must break the virtual shackles imposed by those more hung up on their processes that lead you all over the place but nowhere close to your goal and, ironically, do little even to help companies find the best people due to the choke points erected to block access. It is truly Kafkaesque (as in Franz Kafka -- look it up).
I am not suggesting that you dramatically change your activities, only that you should adapt in order to take more control, and responsibility, for your own self-interest. Step back and imagine for a moment what we are doing, emailing a resume and then waiting for someone else to do something for us – and people actually call this an activity.
No, instead of sending your resume into a deep and dark black hole, contact the company directly - period! Applying online is a losing proposition. If you’re not happy with the online option available to you, take back and regain a measure of your dignity; for God’s sake, do something different, do something for yourself instead of whining about how unfair the world is. Granted, it is not as simple as the last few sentences would suggest, but you can – and should, do things in a different manner.
Next week I will explain what steps you should be taking and also the ridiculously simple method of how to identify who the employer is when they intentionally do not name them in the advert or posting.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heaven or Hell: You Never Really Know – Until You Start

You can interview with the best intentions, seeking to demonstrate your suitability for the job for which you’re interviewing. You can ask all the right questions and thoroughly evaluate the position for which you applied. You can have a good interaction and overall feeling of satisfaction with the limited knowledge available to you when you make your decision to accept a job offer.
But it isn’t until you arrive on that fateful day to begin a new job when you’ll in fact come face to face with the actual, life-size, hi-def big picture that is your new work environment, in person. You never really know until you start whether or not you’ve made the right decision. Even so, everyone wears their best face when you start a new job, it’s the honeymoon period so if there are glaring issues during this period, it would behoove you to pay attention. Because sometimes, things are not as they seem.
I recently encountered a person I’ve known for many years who shared an experience they had with/about a new job – which ended almost as quickly as it began.
She was elated to have been hired by an organization with a good reputation and all with whom she met, behaved professionally and friendly. On the first day of work she was introduced to her co-worker, who had been there already two years and was tasked with her training. Suddenly, from that moment things changed. As with any new job, learning new systems and processes can be demanding but is to be expected, everyplace is different in one way or another. This notwithstanding almost immediately, her co-worker and trainer was demeaning, intentionally made all things more difficult and was literally insulting. Here, where I live in the Czech Republic they have a term called mobing, it is pronounced like the word “mobbing” but with a long “o” and translated, it equates with harassment, as in, workplace harassment. It is a serious charge but one that can be hard to prove without witnesses (a note to readers who might experience similar behavior: utilize a discreet, voice activated recording device and voila, you have the next best thing to a witness and proof). The new employee quickly recognized a problem and attempted to address her co-worker to learn what issues might be causing the communication and behavioral issues; but this was answered with worse treatment and more insults. (I could list more of what was related to me but for the sake of blog brevity I’ve shortened the story) So on Day Three, she reached out to the manager seeking some relief but none was offered except to suggest she should “…hang in there and things would work themselves out” and to her knowledge nothing else was said or done with regard to the offending co-worker. There were no other assurances provided.
So if you place yourself in her shoes, what might you conclude so soon in a job? You’re new; your direct co-worker is abusive for whatever reason and attempting to find common ground with them only makes matters worse. And the manager, to whom you appealed and who could have very easily brought both parties together in order to facilitate a resolution – didn’t. So what do you do; what would you do?  Do you just take it, forsake dignity by allowing yourself to be a verbal punching bag, do you fight back or should you go over the boss’s head? Obviously, none of these are viable solutions, so after considering her options, she quit on the morning of the fourth day. So who failed? In this particular case and in my expert opinion it was surely not the new employee.  Rather, it must be concluded the employer failed her but, more specifically, the manager who for whatever reason chose not to step in and do what managers are supposed to do, that is, to manage. In military terms it would be described as a dereliction of duty.
Meanwhile, the offending person remains happily in place, smug in knowing she protected her turf from a newly hired person, which any outside observer would logically conclude, she viewed as a threat. But even worse, as a result of management’s failure to step in and impose any discernable repercussions, they’ve in reality given the green light, which suggests that such behavior is and will be acceptable when the next new employee arrives.
So what should we conclude from this story: what is the instructive element here for readers to gain from this blog entry? Well, there are a few things. The employee who started and shortly left her new job did the right thing. Consider that she evaluated the situation recognizing that       there was no indication the situation would improve but, in fact, all indications were that it would further degrade, even after seeking to find a solution directly with her co-worker. Failing that, she turned to the manager who demonstrated no willingness to step in to oversee or engage in any rudimentary conflict resolution. The result: a new employee was left to conclude nothing would change and she could rely on no help from management. So if it were you, would you invest three days or three months before making a decision of what to do? If one does not stand up for their own self-respect, who else will.
And although you never really know until you start a new job, do your best during the interview process to learn as much as you can, asking questions to gain as much information as you can because there is always more at stake than job title, duties, and money. Here are a few examples of questions to add to your repertoire:
  • Why is the position open?
  • What happened to the last person in the position?
  • …and how long were they in the position?
And whenever it is possible, try to meet beforehand those with whom you will directly work.
I recognize the jobs market is tightening and good jobs are getting harder to find, but it is not only a matter of a potential employer qualifying the applicant. You the applicant need to dig as deeply as you can to learn as much as possible in order to minimize any surprises when you enter a new work environment. And if all else fails -- have a Plan B ready should you need it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What to Say in the Interview

If you are searching online for interview advice, you’ll find it all right and no shortage of it -- perhaps that’s how you found this blog. But, as we all know, there’s a lot of info online, some is good and some is not worthy of your time. For example: anyone suggesting simple and formulaic solutions applied to interviewing doesn’t know what they are talking about. And frankly speaking I rather hope you rolled your eyes with a sigh when you read the title of this blog entry. What, do you think all you have to do is have a few practiced lines ready for the right questions and “POW!” you’ll hit’em between the eyes with the right answers, and they’ll be stunned no, impressed enough to offer you the job – “yea!” ?  But it must be true, right, because I see lots of YouTube videos with segments doing just this, telling you and anyone who’s so gullible that there’s magic you can do and “VOILA!” you’ll have a great new job. Even better, there is some guy on the internet calling himself Career Billy or something similarly goofy, who has one of those never-ending infomercials – you know, the kind that talk all around the point in an attempt to draw you in, never talking about price until the end. The purveyor in this case contends that he can provide you with a magic document with which, if you present to an interviewer, they will be so astounded they will be forced to offer you your dream job (Career Bob’s words, not mine). And how much will it cost, you might ask, well I’ll tell you – normally something this astounding, something so important would cost you a thousand bucks but wait, if you act now you’ll also receive three free gifts valued at over $500! But that’s not all, blah, blah, blah… Save yourself some time, if you were to suffer all the way through to the end, which took forty minutes, as I did out of morbid curiosity, that is what you’d hear. I laughed all the way through it but also understand there are those who want so badly to find success in their job search, they would pay for something such as this – and possibly at a time when they can least afford it. Save yourself some time and money, its crap and you don’t need to buy that kind of snake oil.
Whether it is formulaic one-size-fits-all answers to have at the ready during an interview or a special and secret document with which to supposedly stun an interviewer; if you are looking for a job this isn’t the way to do it. With reduced attention spans and this fixation all too many people have seeking instant gratification with no investment, this is part of the problem. Combine this with the fact that most people don’t spend much time, if they can help it, interviewing – after all, it is something we do when we must and not because it is a fun pastime (unless you’re a little masochistic). Furthermore, as so much of the process has become automated and digitized, by the time you have a real face-to-face interview you’re likely already frustrated and feeling insecure at the lack of human interaction in a process that requires just that. Go ahead, fall for the easy solutions hawked by hacks, when you attempt to use that garbage and realize it doesn’t work you’ll be right back where you started, having lost something more important than money, you’ll have lost time. Don’t fall for gimmicks looking for the easy way out.
There is no substitution for face-to-face, interactive communication and developed people skills. You can be the best qualified and smartest person in the room, possess a great resume but -- can you communicate your skills and qualifications on a level sufficient to gain notice and demonstrate why you should be chosen over others – which is the essence of the interview process? For whatever reason, if you are like so many, relying almost solely upon faceless online methods to find a job, avoiding human interaction at all costs, the answer is no. There is no simple or formulaic solution to get your dream job, just as there is no easy way to obtain killer abs resulting from some silly new fad advertised online.
I have been coaching people; both job applicants and hiring managers for many years and yes, there are some questions you should be ready to address. And yes, I have advice on the manner in which you should reply, but your answers are your own. This whole thing about interviewing isn’t rocket science but you must possess the basics from which to develop advanced skills. When I increasingly meet people who say “yeah”, instead of “yes”, when they cannot even articulate simple answers without using “like” and “you know” in every sentence, I recognize failure of teachers and parents, but it goes beyond even them; every person is responsible for themselves. But this in an age where everyone likes to throw blame and not take personal responsibility, is it any wonder why no one takes them seriously? Not even the best gimmicks from Career Billy-Bob will help them and will only cost them. Want to do better in the interview, take responsibility to improve yourself – the buck stops with you.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Waiting for Your Lucky Break

I would suggest that the majority of people looking for a job, at one time or another, rely more upon luck than putting stock into their own abilities to find a job. That’s right, most people are playing the lottery, hoping their ticket – in this case their resume, will be chosen. In their minds it’s just a numbers game and they’re playin’ the odds. Come on, tell me I am wrong.
But this kind of thinking is defeatist and by nature not a serious approach. Furthermore, I speak with people who believe a university degree for which they paid so much is an automatic door opener, a golden ticket for success; in past decades it may have been, although it is becoming painfully obvious that is increasingly no longer the case. The new normal (since 2008) requires more than simply showing up and expecting a red carpet thrown before you. It absolutely requires an orchestra of effort requiring multi-tasking abilities. It is right here where peoples’ eyes glaze over and I lose the attention of too many unwilling to make the effort to do what makes the difference, rather falling back on the concept of dumb luck than to motivate themselves beyond their comfort zone, but you must. It isn’t that it’s so hard to do, you must resolve to do it, even just a bit at a time.
I was speaking with someone just this morning on this same topic, suggesting people need to do more even if it is physically hand carrying their resume to drop it off in person whenever it is possible, even for the sake of connecting a smiling face to that lifeless piece of paper that represents you. Nonetheless, they replied negatively, saying they’d be looked upon oddly if they ever did that and, well, because nobody else does it, which makes it weird. I also suggested their resume should be more than a bland and boring description of their current job; that whenever possible it should include accomplishments that represent them better than what they are already (yawn) supposed to be doing anyway. Again their reply was negative, telling me that HR looks at a resume and if they don’t see anything special they will just toss it aside – which, ironically, only proved my point but they’d hear nothing of it, instead committed to proving my 20+ years of experience is wrong. They said it’s all rigged and companies only hire people they already know before the jobs are posted and, even then, companies receive 100 or more people applying for the same jobs. In other words, it’s all a waste of time and the system is set up for you to fail.
By the way, whoever said finding a good job was easy – especially now. So imagine their shock when I smiled and replied, “Okay, so then if you’re right, if you feel that way you should just give it up – why bother then?” Clearly, they wanted to be convinced otherwise because they have self-doubts – which is completely understandable in the current jobs market; lots of people feel this way. But I’ve said it many times, that regardless of the state of the economy, companies are hiring people every day; they are taking longer to do it and you must compete with more people than ever, but they are hiring. However, the same old routines and methods that worked 10 years ago won’t get you the same results in the current market. A new normal requires adaptation and adjustments to meet the new challenges.
I write about this stuff every week and I recently posted onto YouTube a series of videos which provide usable advice; just go to YouTube and do a search with this word grouping: “Why Should Anybody Hire You?”  Or the word combination of “Empower Yourself Michael Mayher” and you’ll find it, there are 25 of them. But if I may be philosophical for a moment, the answers aren’t coming to you, you’ve got to take the initiative and seek them out. If in this ‘recovery’ you think you can find a good job without putting forth more effort than in the past, you just don’t get it. It requires effort, you’re going to fail and hear no more then you’ll hear yes. Even with advice that I or anyone else can provide, it’s still a task but a worthy one. As for roadblocks and obstacles in your path, years after my service I still possess an airborne military mindset and my reaction to any obstacle is to contemplate how to get over, under, around it or to go straight through it.
Here’s an analogy for you to consider -- when you play any video game for the first time you’ll get only so far, able to reach a certain point only to have to go back and start again. Each time you repeat the process you advance a little further along, don’t you? Well, that is analogous with the process of mastering an interview. So with each interview, if you’re paying attention, adjusting and self-critiquing your performance afterward that means that it is not a waste of time, is it? And you will learn different and alternative things to utilize in combination to use at the right moment, somewhat similar to the different tools or weapons available to you in a videogame in order to adapt to whatever you might encounter. In the case of the job hunt or interview process that would be, resume, cover letters, how to present yourself, interview tips, follow-up and Thank You letters, developing your negotiating & closing skills, maximizing use of your references, etc.
So if you want to give up, as many sadly have, nothing I can say will change your mind. But if you want to up your game, or get back into the game there are tools that can help you – but you’ve got to want it. It’s not only about your ability to get back up, after being knocked down, but instead, how many times you can get knocked down and still get back up again, dust yourself off, moving in the right direction in the smartest and most effective manner learning as you go. You’ve done it all your life, otherwise you’d still be crawling around as if you had a diaper wrapped around you. The current jobs market is tough but far from impossible – if you have had doubts, now is not the time to get wobbly, there’s help and advice but you must seek it out and then – capitalize on and use it.   
By the way, a few days after I composed this blog entry the person I refer to above received an offer resulting in a new (good) job opportunity. The message is simple – NEVER give up! Indeed, you should adapt and adjust your efforts along the way. Don’t you know that good things are rarely easily won and must be earned? Or have you, up until now been one of those rare folks who got everything in life so easily? I doubt it, so don’t doubt yourself.
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