It’s an “evolution”

My husband and I are firm believers in “evolution”. I’m not talking about the process by which living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified over the course of history, but rather the process by which we live and set goals. Let me explain.

 

Every year, every birthday, every job, every home, every time in our lives we should strive to make it better than the last. Like most things in life, evolution is never linear. But to trend upwards, to be able to say that I’m healthier, happier, more engaged, more “complete” today than I was yesterday makes me incredibly happy.

 

I’ve been lucky that, throughout my career, I’ve been able to make this same kind of upward trajectory. There have certainly been times where I questioned what I was doing, why I was doing it, and for whom I was doing it for. Over the course of the last 13 years, I lived by something an old mentor told me, “Strive to make yourself uncomfortable. That’s where you’ll grow the most.”

 

I have made a lot of mistakes, leapt (and tripped face first) over hurdles, turned my back on opportunities, and have jumped because someone told me to. Every single decision I have made, good or bad, has led me to where I am today, and, for that, I am thankful.

 

We may not all start off in a career/job that we dream of, but the ultimate goal is to get that place where everything feels “right”. I encourage you to make yourself uncomfortable.

 

Try something that you didn’t think you’d do… professionally, or personally. Be like Nike and “just do it”.

 

 

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I never heard back. Why?

There comes a time when everyone thinks, “I thought I interviewed well.  What happened?  Why didn’t I get through to the next round?”  I think it’s human nature to always be asking “why”.  Let’s split this into a few scenarios:

You submitted your resume, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Before I make the decision to email/call you back, I look at your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your blog posts, your Google+ page.  I Google you.  I have seen the rants about your job, how much you hate your boss, how you can’t wait for the day to be over.  I have seen the, sometimes, “unclassy” pictures of your drunken stupor from last weekend.  Would you hire you after seeing these things?
  • Your grammar.  Did you pass 2nd grade?  If so, I expect you to know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Not only is this a poor reflection on you, but I risk my reputation as a recruiter as well.
  • Your resume is hard to read.  Why is it not in chronological order?  How long did you work at XYZ Corp?  When did you leave XYZ Corp?  Why is the font so small???  
  • Your resume is lackluster.  I can tell when you just copy a job description into your resume.  That’s great.  But tell me what YOU did in that role.
  • Your resume lacks information I want/need to see.  You’re in sales, and you don’t tell me how AWESOME you are at closing deals?  Why not?  Are you not proud of your accomplishments?  Things that make me go “hmm” will quickly put you in the reject pile.  

I had a phone interview with the recruiter, but never heard back.  Why?

  • You didn’t do your research.  Tsk tsk.  Always – ALWAYS – do a little reading on the company you’re interviewing with beforehand.  Know what their offerings are, know who their target clients are, know what questions you want to ask.  What else can you research?  The recruiter.  Find out where they went to school, their career history… use it to your advantage.  Build rapport with them off of any commonalities you might have.
  • You talk too much.  Long-winded answers rarely get you anywhere.  Why aren’t you listening to questions I’m asking?  Why aren’t you answering my question directly?  What are you dancing around?  Nerves are hard to overcome in interviews, I get it.  But you have to listen for cues.  What is the recruiter asking of you?  What kind of information does the recruiter need to evaluation your background? 
  • Your answers sound rehearsed and redundant.  Are you telling me the same thing using different words?  Have you said these sentences/phrases over and over in front of a mirror, and in every interview?  We can hear these nuances.
  • You don’t follow directions.  I found you on LinkedIn, I already have access to your profile.  When I ask for a resume, please send it to me.  Don’t direct me back to your LinkedIn page.  Not following an “ask” is a tell-tale sign of how much you want something.  
  • You interview poorly.  I have said it a million times, “interviews are just conversations”.  We are here to learn about each other.  I talk to some candidates where I feel like I’m trying to pull teeth.  Brag about yourself!  Be confident in your abilities.  Ask questions right back at the recruiter.  Just as we’re interviewing you, interview us!

I had an interview with the hiring manager, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Lack of detail.  By the time you’ve gotten to the hiring manager, they are looking for details on why you’d be great at a job.  If you can’t back up statements like “I’m a successful sales rep” with things like “I achieved 200% of my quota YOY by continuously prospecting my territory, fearlessly hunting and cold calling, and continuously analyzing my plan of attack”, the hiring manager isn’t going to be able to assess how well you’d do here.   
  • You didn’t send a “thank you”.  Call it what you will.  Some hiring managers don’t care.  Some do.  Some make it a “mandatory”, while others are just a “nice to have”.  But, why not increase your chances by taking 2 minutes out of your day to email them?  Show them you want it!

Job searches are hard.  Some would say, interviews are harder.  They’re stressful, they put you in a position of vulnerability.  Approach your job search like you would any other tough situation in life — head on!   

Remember… head down, chin up!  

 

My Challenge for You…

I recently made a decision to pursue a new opportunity.  I want to share my story to, perhaps, inspire you to challenge yourself to take chances and to never stop taking chances.

As a recruiter, I always tell candidates that I headhunt, “It’s just conversation until an offer is in your hands. It’s always good to see what’s out there.”  When the time came when someone headhunted ME, I was not a hypocrite.  I took the call, and I listened.  I answered genuinely.  I am honest when I say that I actually got very nervous because I had the chance to interview with many of the C-level execs with whom I’d be working very closely with – something that has yet to happen to me in my career.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was not looking for a new position.  I loved the company I was working for.  I loved my team, and my manager.  In fact, I had never worked for a better company, team, or manager EVER in my career.

Why did I take the call?

Because I don’t like the feeling of regret.  How would I know this new company wasn’t the perfect chance for me to showcase my skills?  The simple answer is: I wouldn’t.  Not unless I took the time to learn about it.

Just as much as they were interviewing me for the role, I was interviewing them for a personal fit.  I’m a firm believer that culture drives a company.  I have been in situations where I “dulled” my personality to fit the culture of the company I was interviewing at, for those interviewers who would never get my humor or my personality.  The outcome of that was dismal.  I did not enjoy my time there, and that was no one’s fault but my own.  It wasn’t a fit for me.

So, in this interview process, I was myself.  I asked about things that were important to me.  I joked around with them to see how well I’d be able to work with them.  How much were they engaging with me, and me with them?  In the end, I realized it was a good fit all around – job duties, growth, culture, opportunity.

This new venture will be a different one for me.  This new company is a start-up.  I will be one of two recruiters during this company’s hypergrowth mode.  I will be staffing this amazing start-up with some of the best talent out there.  Where before I was following policies and procedures already set in place before me, I now will be helping to develop these policies and procedures for those following me.  It’s exciting, nerve wrecking, and motivating all at the same time.

My challenge for you is to never close any doors because you never know when opportunity will come knocking (cliche much?).  Any decision you make today will help develop you for tomorrow.

Things to take away:

  • Network.  Always.  And never stop.
  • Answer recruiters’ emails, every time, even if it is just to tell them you are not interested.
  • Be yourself.  I find that so many people try to be someone else come interview time.  I get why you do that.  But don’t.  You are who you are, and many companies will hire for culture fit.  And if it isn’t the right culture for YOU, in the long run, you probably won’t be happy.
  • Take chances.  Put yourself out there, and do not fear being rejected.  Each “no” is one step closer to the “yes”.
  • Be honest.  With yourself and with anyone you talk to.  Talk about your dreams and your desires, your strengths and your weaknesses.  Don’t ever be afraid to confront your weaknesses to make them your strengths.
In the words of James Altucher, “Choose yourself.”