Why You May Not Be Invited To Interviews

Look, there are many possible reasons why you are not getting interviews. And, you are beginning to sense that your career search journey, while not entirely derailed, is turning out to be very bumpy and indeterminate. Plus, you are not enjoying the ride, one bit!

As you try for a correction, it turns out there is one area you may have overlooked – your social media footprint. Question – do you know what your social footprint looks like to an employer who looked you up on social media or googled your name? Was your response to the search results: Yikes?

What you publish about yourself or the personal info you allow unfettered access to by everyone on social media; has the power to enhance, neuter, or severely hinder your chances of obtaining the job interviews. Consequently, you must plan out and curate your existing social media collateral to improve your chances of success in your career improvement project.

So, beyond publishing your skills and experience to the public domain and networking online with professionals from various employment sectors, here are some things you should do immediately.

1. Resolve to keep your personal intrigues, fallouts and updates, and professional updates on separate social media accounts.

2. Ensure that your LinkedIn URL and the name you generally know in the business are in simpatico.

3. Widen your reach; build your network, and engage in professional dialogue with a broader audience across multiple social channels.

4. Interact with recruiters, former colleagues, and prospective employer representatives by liking and commenting on their posts across all channels in real-time.

5. Resist the urge to be disagreeable and pedantic in your comments and responses to the posts of others. Alternative views are encouraged, but razing someone on a social media post, does nothing to further your career improvement project.

Are you ready to take the lead in your job search? Then it is time for a social redo or upgrade of your social footprint?

Problems with 1st Interview Feedback?

So, no one called you back after your first interview. You were told they would get back to you in two days, and it has been two weeks! Plus, you’ve called three times for a status. Imagine getting no credit for your restraint!

By the end of week two, it is slowly beginning to dawn on you that you have crossed into the high-maintenance job seeker category. So even if you performed well at the interview, you might have blown it with your overanxious, aggressive interview follow-up.

Are you a high-maintenance jobseeker? The high maintenance jobseeker views interviewing and job search as a proactive, highly competitive exercise. The HMJ candidate believes that they should take control of the interview and the interview feedback process and may make some mistakes to get an edge over other jobseekers.

Have you committed one or many of these mistakes while job searching? Here are the most often abused missteps.

1)     Once contacted for an interview, the HMJ candidate bombards the recruiter or manager with a series of “before I set up the interview, I would like to share” emails.

2)     When asked for additional or supporting documents, the candidate sends each item in a separate email. As a result, the recruiters or managers are so overwhelmed that they never open any documents.

3)     During the interview, HMJ struggles to allow the manager to ask complete questions or constantly interrupts to present supporting documents, forgetting that there is no prize given for being a “quick-draw” with the responses. It is important to remember that some people ramble before coming to the point, so answering the question too soon can hurt you.

4)     Post-interviewed HMJ often calls to find out the state of their candidacy or will email show-and-tell items to highlight their projects, reference letters, reviews, etc.

5)     HMJ forgets to write down the Key Manager’s name and addresses their Thank You note “To whom it may concern” – the answer to which is “Nobody.”

Many job seekers inadvertently commit one or more of these interview mistakes to stand out from other candidates.

If you were not invited to a second interview or did not hear back after your first interview, check the items above. Did you commit any of these blunders – are you an HMJ- a high maintenance jobseeker?

Close your interview with a process question.

Closing your interview with a process question instead of a project related question, is a winning interview strategy. Asking an organizational or process question at the end of an interview can help you gauge whether the position is a good career fit for you at this point in your life and career.

These questions should replace the project, technical or industry related questions as you may have already discussed those topics with the interviewer. A good sample question: “What are the challenges someone hired into this role can expect to face?”

The Manager’s response to the question will show:

1.   Whether there are departmental or interdepartmental politics that you will have to battle against? And, are there technical issues that may make it initially challenging to perform your role effectively?

2.   The Manager’s answer may provide clues as to whether the Manager is aware and in-tune with what it takes to be a success in this role?

3.   Does the manager offer suggestions on how they will work with you to ensure your success? Does the manager speak about the good technical or process culture among the team?

4.   Does the manager’s response discuss how they generally mitigate friction among their talented team members? Because, while friction can generate new ideas, it can massacre the implementation of the new or unique ideas.

5.   Are there actions in place to correct some of these deficiencies, and how someone like you can add value in that effort?

This and other similar open-ended questions, is the manager’s opportunity to sell the role, their organization, and their management style. It is also an opportunity to tell you a bit about what kind of training the company provides its employees.

The manager’s failure to grasp the importance of this question and the opportunity to sell their management style, will also help you gauge the Manager’s interest in your candidacy for the position, and the potential for career growth that the position will provide.

Asking thoughtful process questions shows that you are interested and committed to success in the role could set you apart from the other candidate.

Handling Gaps in your Work History

How prepared are you to respond to questions regarding a Gap in your work history? Being laid off or fired is infuriating, especially if you are dumped by an organization that you were thinking of leaving anyway.

Maybe the timing is terrible, but consider yourself rescued and liberated, PLUS you get to keep your “I am not a quitter badge”!

Is there is a plus side? Yes indeed!

You are being forced to reconsider your career options and proactively restructure the next phase of your career. If you got a decent severance package – HURRAH! You are being paid while you make this career upgrade.

Here are some recommendations for processing and handling the work gap in the initial phone call with a recruiter or hiring manager:

1)   Develop a concise non-emotional explanation for the gap. Was there a company-wide layoff, did your department fold, was there a personal health issue, or did you move to a new city?

2)   Do not fudge the truth. Do not change a full-time tenure at the company to a contract or temp role. Lying about your employment can be damaging. The wise among us realize that being dumped can be a good thing. So, evaluate what you have gained from working at the company that set you free.  

3)   One of the funnier moments in my coaching history is a candidate explaining that she was fired, but not really.

In response to my quizzical: Say What? She said that she was the only one laid off in her division, so she felt she was fired. Too much info…. Was the severance reasonable? I asked, she said yes. I suggested that we will call it a “dissociation.” It is incredible what language can do to improve one’s view of things!

4)   Explain what you were doing during gaps between jobs. Think hard. Did you volunteer, take classes to upgrade your skills, travel, or use the time to take care of a relative. Did you attend webinars take online courses etc.? In short, were you productive?

5)   Unless you are good at disassociation, try to subdue your maverick go-it-alone approach. Consider engaging a professional to help you sophisticate your resume and prepare for this and other tricky interview questions.

6)   Invest in yourself and your career, and above all, do not wait until you are at the interview itself to craft a response to what you have been doing the last three or six months. Above all, do not slime the people at your previous employer; they can be excellent sources for referrals.

Being laid off or fired can be a shock.

For some people, being laid off or fired leaves them feeling angry, ashamed, or resentful. For others, the response could be, “Well, that was interesting. Time to move on. NEXT!”

But remember how quickly you bounce back and begin to represent yourself and your expertise as valuable to another company is always going to be your choice. 

A fast recovery depends on how quickly you accept that while you have had done interesting work, it is time to move on to better things. So, give yourself space to work through your feelings. Don’t let this setback diminish your pride in your otherwise successful career.

Put your redundancy package in perspective. Does it allow you to survive in the near future, or are you stranded? When your career game is interrupted, middle inning, it helps to remember that the sun is shining elsewhere, it is not raining everywhere, and you should remember to let that sink in.

Here are some other survival tips:

1.  Although a quick bounce-back might be a struggle, you will need to project a positive image to persuade your friends and potential employers that you are still in one piece. Focus on the highlights and achievements in your career. That helps to minimize the emotional fallout.

2. A layoff might free you up to explore a new career path or reassess your strengths, values, or where your career interests truly lie. Layoffs affect everyone in the department. Those who remain with the company quite often feel like they have just won the booby prize.

3.  Focus on your achievements in your former role. Use short and factual explanations. Too much detail can sound defensive rather than accepting of the situation.

4.  Laid off due to a merger, restructure, or downsizing? Use a broad brushstroke: Use all-encompassing language. “Unfortunately, I was laid off along with other colleagues.”

6.  Management change or a shift in direction: My skills and expertise are no longer aligned with the projects or the new manager’s priorities.

7.  Fired for performance reasons? Briefly explain the circumstances and what the experience has taught you. Then move on to what makes you a good match for the current position.

8.  Try to stay steady? Avoid responding to a deluge of jobs in a desperate attempt to get any new job. Instead, update your resume and shift your focus towards what you can offer.

Finally, accelerate your networking. The more active you are in your professional communities, the easier it will be to ask for and get help.

Thanks

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