Why do jobseekers have such a hard time finding a new position in short order? Longtime executive recruiter Tony Beshara identifies ten primary reasons in his new book: The Job Search Solution – The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now! (AMACOM, 2006, $16.95).
Beshara, who estimates that between 15 and 20 million Americans will find themselves changing jobs this year, warns that far too many people make these fundamental mistakes:
1. They don’t make finding a job a job itself. They don’t adopt a committed, passionate, failure-is-not-an-option attitude and don’t recognize that finding a job is a numbers game. When it comes to interviews themselves, it’s all numbers: The more interviews you get, the better your chances of getting called back. The more times you’re called back, the better your chances of landing a good job.
2. They don’t develop a system for finding work. The system should entail everything from goals and intentions that dictate planned activity to role-playing of interviews.
3. They have an unrealistic idea about the market for their skills. There is a tendency for people to overinflate the value of their ability in finding a job, based on a distorted view of the marketability of their skills. This can lead to frustration and disappointment when the job search takes longer than expected.
4. They don’t acknowledge the psychological and emotional stress that changing jobs entails. By denying this reality, people operate out of fear of rejection. They confuse activity with productivity and focus on minor things that appear to be job-finding activities, but aren’t the most fruitful use of their time.
5. They forget or don’t realize that 97 percent of the businesses in the US employ fewer than one hundred people. America is not run by big business. It is run by small groups of people who organize to provide goods and services.
6. They don’t recognize that face-to-face interviews are the only thing that matters. There are all kinds of things you can do to get face-to-face interviews, but you have to get them. Pulling out all the stops by doing anything you can to get in front of a hiring authority with pain (the need to hire someone) is the key.
7. They don’t prepare well for interviews. Most people are either not confident in themselves or are overly confident in their interviewing ability simply because they are not as prepared as they should be. They don’t prepare and practice presentations on themselves or with others.
8. They don’t sell themselves in interviews. The vast majority of people going into an interviewing situation simply don’t sell themselves very well. People neglect to do everything from dressing the proper way to focusing on what they can do for a prospective employer. And worst of all, they don’t come right out and ask for the job.
9. They interview with the attitude of “What can you do for me?” Most people believe that the employer is just as responsible for selling them on the company and the job as they are for selling themselves to the employer. This attitude of entitlement – believing an employer owes you something – is bound to fail. Better to never forget your purpose: to win an attractive job offer by presenting yourself as the best possible candidate. If you give employers enough reasons why they ought to hire you and what you can do for them, they will give you plenty of answers on what they can do for you.
10. They present very poor reasons as to why they are leaving their current employers (or why they left their last one) and why they want a different one. Most people present the reasons they are looking to leave their current job or the reasons that they left their last one from a selfish, me-centered point of view. They criticize and bad-mouth their current or past employers and justify their own convictions, thinking that a prospective employer is going to identify with them. They’re wrong.
Finally, Beshara concedes that the job-search process is no simple task. “Next to the death of a spouse, child or parent, the fourth most emotional thing we do (tied with divorce) is look for a job,” he writes. “No matter what anybody tells you, changing jobs can be an emotionally debilitating experience for anyone, and certainly difficult for any of the other important people in your life.”
If you are the victim of a job loss, Beshara emphasizes the importance of acknowledging your emotions. “People who can express their grief get over it faster,” Beshara notes. “The faster . . . you deal with all your negative emotions, the faster you will be able to put them in perspective and move on to other issues that are more important – such as finding a new job.”
While Beshara’s book has yet to make Oprah’s list of recommended reading, it does have the next best thing. TV’s Dr. Phil likes Beshara’s approach. The book, writes Dr. Phil, “shows you how to add velocity to your pursuit of landing a job.”
For example, in one chapter he calls “The Benefits of Practical Spirituality,” Beshara emphasizes the need to get your house in order, both literally and emotionally. Get rid of the clutter in your home and you will help free up your mind. In addition, he urges jobseekers not to dwell on any failure (like blowing your last interview). “What we resist persists. The longer we dwell and mull over these negative experiences or feelings and the more we consciously try to resist them, the more they own us.”
Instead, Beshara prescribes laughter. “Read jokes, watch funny movies. Old family videos or pictures are great for that. If you have kids, get them to tell you jokes every day – a child’s laughter is one of the most infectious events there is.”
All of these strategies, Beshara believes, will turn a stressful job search into a positive experience.