Those who are active in a job search will come across three important stages: interviews with HR, 2nd & 3rd round interviews with upper management, and the final rounds of interviews and salary negotiation.
Depending on where you may run into trouble, there are different solutions. Here are 9 ways you can accelerate that process.
If you aren’t getting interviews:
1 – Are you positioning yourself appropriately? Perhaps you have been going for jobs that are too junior or too senior. Maybe employers don’t clearly understand the scope and scale of your past roles. Check too if your experience as it is described is relevant to the jobs you are pursuing.
2 – Is your marketing complete? Some job seekers overwork their resume but then don’t have an updated online profile. Most recruiters are using social media, especially LinkedIn. If you don’t have an online presence, your executive job search marketing is incomplete.
If you get interviews but don’t get called back:
3 – Do you have 3-4 key message points? You need to cut to the chase in your cover letters, networking pitch and interview responses. People make up their mind quickly so be concise. Get the important information out early and cut out the rest.
4 – Are you specific in the details you share? Remember to show, not tell. Give examples, so prospective employers know the scope and the scale of what you are talking about. When I recruited, a lot of candidates would simply list in vague notions a generic laundry list of attributes – e.g., I learn quickly, I work hard. It was the rare candidate that gave a thorough example of exactly what the objective was, what was delivered, what happened as a result, and what s/he did specifically. The candidates with specific details give the best interviews.
5 – Can you get inspired at will? I recently gave a mock interview to someone who made little eye contact and had overall low energy. This wasn’t what I remembered from an earlier session, and he admitted that he had a rough week. We all have good and bad days, but you can’t just leave it to chance that a good day will occur when you have an interview. So come up with a process for how you can get inspired at will. Champion athletes have very specific routines when they prepare for game day and so do successful job seekers.
If you get called back but can’t close the offer:
6 – Do you let doubts show? In later rounds of interviewing, I have seen candidates start focusing less on the interviews and more about whether they want the job. While, yes, you should be using your meetings to get information you need to make a good decision, there is no decision to be made yet. Don’t second-guess why you are there – you definitely want that offer. You can always say no to the job, but don’t let doubt creep in too soon and give a signal to the prospective employer that you may not be interested.
7 – Have you let things slide? There is a lot of time between submitting a resume, rounds of interviews, and getting a decision. You need to stay front of mind with everyone you met. They are seeing other people and may forget about you. Don’t let things slide as you wait between stages – send key decision-makers a status update about you and reiterate your interest in continuing the discussions.
8 – Do you have quantity, as well as quality? You might do everything right, and the positions loses its funding or it goes to someone internal or a better candidate comes along. You need to have multiple leads to pursue at all time. Your job search will stall if you move from only one lead to another instead of pursuing multiple leads simultaneously. You need quantity in your search.
Finally, on an overall note:
9 – Do you have a process to stay on track long-term? Many jobseekers do a lot their first week, maybe the second but peter out. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The interview process takes time, and you need to continue your search across multiple fronts. So there is a lot to juggle, and you need a process, not just discipline, motivation, or hope that you will stay on track. Make sure you have specific routines for following up with your contacts, for organizing your search information, for preparing for interviews and meetings, and for staying refreshed.
Do you have help where you need it? Now that you know what you have to do, can you do it? If not, what support and resources do you need to get your positioning, marketing, interviewing, organizing, and overall job search working towards your career success?