I once had a candidate end an interview with “How soon can I take my vacation days?”. Unsurprisingly, that did not end well. The CEO was already planning on hiring him. That candidate didn’t get the job.
When you end your interview with the wrong words, your interviewer often says, “They didn’t want the job. They never really expressed an interest in it. So we are offering the job to someone else.”
I rarely hear this about my candidates because I tell them exactly what they should say right before they leave. It should always be a variation of, “I want this job.”
“This is the kind of company and job I thrive in. I think we could work well together. Can we set up the next step in the interview process right now?”
“I have really enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for interviewing me. The job is something I would definitely like to do. Based on everything you have learned about me so far, is there any reason you would NOT hire me for the job?”
“I would like to work here. I enjoyed meeting the team. I can do an outstanding job here and I really want to go to work for you. Can we set up a time for our next meeting right now?”
“This is a great job. I would love to work with you. Can I have the job?”
“This is a great job in a great company. When can I start?”
If it all seems a little too gutsy to you, then go back and read the second paragraph.
I only occasionally hear, “He didn’t want it enough”, from employers. That is when my candidates do not ask for the job.
Something to do today
Do you have a list of all the jobs you have applied for and the people you have talked to? That is another good list to keep in your job journal.
Do you pick up money you see on the ground? Do you stop your career in order to do a menial project or take a job someone else should do?
Bending over to pick up a hundred dollar bill is a bad investment of your time if you are Bill Gates. He has averaged earning more than that every two seconds since Microsoft started. I did the math.
Imagine you’re the fastest pizza maker in the world and make the best pizzas ever. However, your name is also Tom Monaghan, and you founded Domino’s Pizza. Is the best use of your time to make pizzas and sell them? No. Not even close. No matter how good your pizzas are, or how many you can make, if you focus on making pizzas instead of making a corporate empire, you will be wasting your time.
Just because you are the best person for the job, doesn’t mean the job is the best opportunity for you.
Something to do today
What are you doing that keeps you from tackling more important projects? Who can you get to do that job for you?
You are not trying to get the job of “minion” or “muscle”. Don’t pretend that exploiting your life experience is wrong. It is not the same as mugging someone in a back alley. The real reason most people don’t want to exploit their advantages is that they “want to stand on their own two feet”. It is a lovely macho phrase that means very little. Our society, families and personal lives all rest on the shoulders of those who came before us. Admit that no matter what you do, others have helped you. Get on with using the advantages that parents, teachers, friends, clergy and God have given you.
Here are some excuses people use and reasons to exploit them for your advantage.
I will not exploit my family connections to get a job.
Acorns don’t fall far from the tree. Employers need reliable hires. Getting someone from a good family is a much better bet than hiring a complete stranger. If they can’t hire you, but they suggest someone else hire you, they get brownie points from that other person. They win as much as you do.
My friends are too close to my heart for me to ask them for help.
If your friends object to helping you get a job, they don’t trust you with THEIR reputation. If you are going to let them down, you are not a friend. If they trust you and you will follow through, helping is what builds friendships.
I refuse to manipulate their emotions.
People always hire based on emotion. Always. Even if no one talks to you and they only give you a paper test, they hire on emotion. Paper tests are put together based on what people FEEL will give them the best employee. Your pay will be based on emotion – how well they FEEL you will do. Promotions are based on emotion – how do they FEEL you will do in the new job. Don’t be dishonest. Don’t be an actor. Tell the truth simply. The emotions behind the truth will help you Use them.
Inviting them to lunch is brown nosing and sucking up.
Actually it is called networking. In many companies senior partners and executives can be fired for not having lunch with enough different people. They are evaluated on lunch. Literally.
I won’t tell them I left because I was sick. I don’t want their sympathy.
You are fine now and it is relevant to understand your resume. If it will substantially help you get the job, tell them. Talk to a couple of job experts and get their opinion. If it will help, exploit it.
I want the job, but I don’t feel right pressing them to choose me
They want to hire the person with the best attitude. They want the person who will work the hardest. They want someone who they can promote. They want someone who is excited. They want to hire the hungriest person. How can they tell that about you unless you keep asking them, “When will you decide?”, and, “When can I start?”
It is greedy asking for more money.
If the offer is very good, take it. Don’t argue. Otherwise, ask for more money. If you really are worth it, get the money. If they pay you more, you will be less likely to leave for another job because of more pay. They win too.
Taking this job to get experience, when I plan to leave later, is wrong.
Hiring and training you does cost money. Companies that invest that money have already figured out how to profit from it. They will either give you a raise and promotion, or expect you to leave. They will make money. You won’t cost them a thing.
I’m a veteran, but it is not fair to use that to get a job.
The leadership, teamwork, calmness under fire, discipline and fortitude veterans develop is uncommon. Bring it up.
Your life experience makes a difference. Whatever that experience is. You need to use it and exploit it.
Something To Do Today
Think of these “excuses”. If there are any that you use, how can you use it to your advantage?
A woman moved into a new neighborhood and asked the man next door what the people who lived there were like. He answered, “They’re just people. What were the people like in your last neighborhood?” She told him exactly what she thought. He replied, “I think you’ll find people around here are exactly the same kind of people.” It is mostly what you take with you, not the neighborhood, that determines how you will like where you live or work.
Laid off, fired, divorced, or the death of family, friends or pets can all make you hurt badly. The trouble is that many people take those pains to work. There they perform poorly or not at all. Bosses understand a few days of mourning. The trouble is that some people don’t get back in the saddle. Those people are horribly unproductive or counterproductive for months or even years.
The people who hurt the most have the toughest time finding a new job. It is obvious when someone is suffering that we often tell them to take a week or two off to recover before they apply for another job. Why blow a great opportunity because you are in pain? Some people are so badly hurt we won’t even try to help them get a job.
In other words, don’t expect to get a great job while you are hurt or mourning. If you really are hurting you need to change and get back to normal or no one will want to work with you.
Poor social skills and terrible work habits have the same symptoms as debilitating emotional pain. Some symptoms are that you think, and it is true, that everyone at your last job was HORRIBLE. The boss was a lunatic. All your coworkers avoided you. Promotions and pay raises were denied because someone hated you without any reason. People were talking behind your back. Everyone wanted you to leave.
The problem with that debilitating pain (or the other problems), is that you refuse to take responsibility yourself. When things are going that bad at a job, it is always your fault. You are bringing that anger upon yourself by something you do. Your attitude, reactions, the chip on your shoulder, or lack of listening, may incite the problem. Occasionally, very rarely, you have the wrong job. The problem is you.
Don’t bring those problems to your next job. If everywhere you go smells like crap, check the bottom of your shoes before you blame someone else.
Something To Do Today
Think about your job search. Just think. And then take notes about your conclusions.
Do you mistrust “Positive Attitude” mentors? Do their programs sound good but make you depressed after a while?
The answer is found in liquid Helium vs Helium II.
Helium II is a very unusual liquid. In the next paragraph I’ll use two people to show the difference between liquid Helium and Helium II.
Jim applied to be a space shuttle astronaut. He practiced his positive mental attitude and visualizations twice a day for an hour. He knew that would get him the job. Somehow he ended up getting a rejection letter. Jim thought that being a 35 year old, out of shape, high school dropout out without a job or a desire to get one should have been overpowered by his “positive attitude”. A 77 year old man had more of a positive attitude than Jim, so he got the job. John Glen flew into space as an old man because he figured out a way to overcome the huge obstacle of age. It involved getting a job in congress and deciding how much money NASA got.
Attitude is really about preparing, contributing and finding your way around obstacles. Jim did not have a positive attitude. He just liked to think he did. John Glenn had a positive, unstoppable Helium II attitude.
Norman Vincent Peale, Maxwell Maltz and other attitude masters always said that attitude is NOT everything. Attitude just helps you figure a way around obstacles or a better direction to go with your energy. Positive attitude was never meant to be a replacement for reality and effort.
Helium II is an example of gas with an attitude. Helium II is supercooled helium that is not just a liquid, but a very special liquid. It will slip through molecule sized cracks in a container. If you leave it in an open beaker, it will climb the walls of the beaker and get out. Swirl it into a little whirlpool and it won’t stop swirling because it has no internal friction. It is practically unstoppable in many ways. The only way to really stop it is to let it warm up just a little bit. Then it becomes a normal liquid and all those fascinating behaviors stop.
You can have a Helium II attitude. Use your positive attitude to look for ways to escape the container you are in. Is there a crack you can exploit? If necessary, can you climb out of any career pit you have fallen into? If nothing else, you need to keep moving while waiting for your next opportunity. Don’t ever stop improving yourself and doing outstanding work. If you let yourself get hot under the collar about what has happened to you, you may become stuck right where you are, or slip even lower. Prepare and grow while keeping your eyes open for the next opportunity.
A while ago I helped a man get a much better job. For years he has been struggling with jobs that were below his skill level. The reason they were below his skill level is that he has always been educating himself. He has been spending his own money to better himself. His jobs have not measured up to his constantly growing skills. Since he was overqualified he decided to do the jobs he had exceptionally well. It wasn’t easy. But with his preparation I finally found him the perfect opportunity. I doubt he will stop now. He’ll keep studying and preparing. Pretty soon he’ll be too big for this job and have to find an even bigger opportunity. For now he’s just grateful he kept on moving and kept up a really positive attitude. The kind of attitude that always finds a way.
Something To Do Today
Writing in a job journal is a great place to start, you can write about what you want to do better. Writing it down rather than saying it reinforces your decisions.
A woman I know well was promoted to a level way above her comfort zone. She had never failed in the past with her last position, but this new promotion was stressful and a big deal to her. One of her friends gave her this advice:
“Congratulations. Relax. Cool it. Just do good work daily and before you know it, it will be a career.”
That is good advice any time you find yourself in a job, or interview for a job, that is way beyond where you expected to be.
Something To Do Today
Do your best every day, and you will quickly grow into the position.
Job search? Cleaning your mind may be the most critical part.
“Why are there no blacks and only 3 latinos out of 1200 employees?” I figured there was a good reason, and the president of the company gave me one. However, a manager got me into his office and yelled at me. He really yelled at me. I had a choice to make as I got in my car. Should I replay the incident over and over and get madder and madder, or should I concentrate on something else?
I chose badly for 15 minutes. I got madder and madder. Then I realized what I was doing. I figured out that something must have triggered that outburst. The president was not bothered by my question. The manager that yelled at me was badly embarrassed. I forgave him and started concentrating on something else, anything else. In 10 minutes I was enjoying life on my terms again. And, yes, I found out three months later that they were now actively recruiting and training blacks specifically for that division.
Most jobs you apply for, you won’t get. That’s just the statistical truth. So how do you handle it when you lose? You certainly have to notice what happened. It is great to try to figure out what went wrong, if anything. After you’ve evaluated what happened, start planning your next job success.
If you keep replaying every negative thing that happens while searching for a job, you’ll go crazy. When you concentrate on what went well, you reinforce your positive behaviors. When you relive the things that went wrong, you reinforce the negative. You also feel worse. Work at feeling better.
My wife is a good piano and organ player. When she is learning a new piece she is careful NOT to practice known mistakes over and over. She slows way down and practices it right. Then she speeds up. In her mind and in her fingers she concentrates on minor victories. It can take her a month of practicing 2 to 4 hours a day to get a piece just right. She’d go crazy if she concentrated on her mistakes. She enjoys practicing because she celebrates every minor success. She can find a success every minute.
You need to look for successes in your job hunting. If there is something you know you did wrong, slow down. Instead of rehearsing the errors in your mind, mentally see yourself doing it right. Find a quiet place and relax. See yourself correcting mistakes and getting a positive response.
If someone else screwed up, slow down. Concentrate on what you did right. You can’t control the other person. You can’t change history. You can find a quiet place and relax. You can rehearse in your mind what you did right. In your mind you can practice correcting any mistakes you made.
Good mental hygiene is the difference between self improvement and self destruction. It also just plain feels better.
Something To Do Today
Get the book Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. It has a lot of great ideas about how to control your thoughts and happiness.
Go to JustServe.org and find a place you can help someone else. It will help.
“My last employer lied to me. He looked me straight in the eye and lied to me twice in the employment interview. Then he spent the next year undermining me. He made it impossible to reach the pay level he promised me.”
When he told me that, I understood. I’m an agency recruiter. I could see from his previous jobs that he was exceptionally good at what he does. Before he goes out on a job interview I’ll tell him how to handle that situation. Eventually he’s going to have to get over that job wound.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. (Gandhi)
Remember, your attitude is everything. Managers know that some bosses reek. Every manager has also had an employee who was terrible. Your interviewer has to decide if you or your boss was the problem. Because they lack facts, they will decide whose fault it was by your attitude.
When they ask you about that lying, thieving, disgusting, wife beating boss you had at your previous job, be careful. Remember, the slimeball’s dog still loves him. Say only, “At my last job I accomplished..” and list the good things you got done.
If asked, “Why did you leave?” Say, “My boss and I did not see eye to eye.” Then add something else that is positive that you accomplished.
Never say more than one sentence at a time about that vile, filthy, back stabbing, dog kicking boss. Remember the Grinch’s cat still purrs when he pets it. Make each short comment about him as positive as you can. Follow that sentence with something positive you were able to get done at that job.
The best thing you can do is GET OVER IT. Forgive the louse. No. Forgive the man. Stop brooding. It affects your attitude. Hate will make it much harder to get a job. Interviewers can smell your discontent.
Forgive, forget, and get on with your life. Do you really think you will be telling every interviewer for the next 20 years about that boss? You won’t. The time to stop telling people about that boss is now.
Something To Do Today
Had a boss you hated? Make a list of 10 things you accomplished there. Not your job duties, things you made better. Accomplishments. Use that list every time you are asked about the job.
Our family had stopped for lunch on a pretty little beach in Hawaii. A family was there fishing. The father was throwing a net and had some crab pots out. The kids were fishing with a stick and a hook. They invited us to join them.
Eventually the crab pots were brought in. There were 3 crabs in the pots. The dad grabbed the crabs with his bare hands and plopped them in a bucket. I was 9 years old at the time and I remember telling all the adults that those crabs were going to get out. I was scared. They showed me how a crab can grab a stick with those claws.
One crab did get part way out once. An adult came over and knocked it back in. Other than that once, it was never a problem. You see crabs won’t let another crab get above them. They pull them back down into the bucket.
As a recruiter I’ve interviewed a lot of people who are like those crabs. They complain about how unfair things are. I can get lists of offenses they have suffered at work. I can also get ingenious methods of retaliation they used. They concentrate more on what they want than how to help the business make a bigger profit. They expect someone to appoint them to lead and for everyone to meekly do as they say.
Frank Fox told me, “Leadership is 90% seized and 10% granted.” I’d say opportunity is also 90% seized and 10% granted. Networks? 90% seized and 10% granted.
Something To Do Today
Look at your work group, church, friends, etc. Who always decides where the group is going for lunch? Who picks what you are going to do?
Who decides where you will meet? How do they seize that control? Write down some thoughts in your job journal.
For a few days: How to network at the top.
How natural leaders do it even if they have no titles.
When you don’t get a particular job, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and think about past successes.
Very few jobs are awarded to the only candidate considered. In most situations, even internal promotions, at least 3 candidates are considered. For the majority of outside hires more than 10 resumes are reviewed. You never have a chance of getting the job. But somehow, you eventually win.
Look at your current or last job. Who were the competitors? Why did you win? See! You are good at getting the job.
Now look at the next job you want to have. What can you do today to give yourself the winning edge over the other candidates?
Goals can be used to give you that winning edge in an impossible competition. Yesterday I talked to someone who spent $6000 last year to finish his degree while working full time. Now he not only can win the jobs he looked at more easily, but he can look at a whole new level of jobs.
Set a goal to give yourself an unfair advantage in you next career move.
The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser — in case you thought optimism was dead. (Robert Brault)
Something To Do Today
Figure out when you can spend some time with your goals every day. Just sitting with a pen and paper for 15 minutes each day can change your life if you are thinking about where you want to go.
Make sure the goals will give you a tangible advantage in your career.