In the last few job hunting posts I have made a lot about being in the right state of mind and keeping the balance of power in your favour when job hunting. I have had a few emails asking me about how to do that when it is the company that has the job. Here a few ideas to address that issue.
As a child playing with my younger cousins whenever there was a choice to be made I would suggest that we flip a coin. I would let them flip the coin because they enjoyed that bit. But that meant that I get to choose heads or tails.
I would say, “Heads I win, tails you lose.” I managed to keep that rouse going for years before they realised what I was doing.
Creating Illusion of Choice
Magicians and psychics have a particular technique that is similar to “heads I win; tails you lose” just a little subtler. Let’s say a magician gives you a choice of three cards on the table but they want you to take a particular card.
They will ask you to pick a card. They just won’t tell you why you are picking or what they will do once you have picked the card. If you by chance pick the right card then that is brilliant they will just continue with the effect from there.
If you pick one of the two “wrong” choices they will say something like, “You have chosen to eliminate that card.” They will take the card you picked away and then ask you to choose again. If you pick “wrongly again they will eliminate the card again in the same fashion leaving you with just the card that they wanted you to pick.
If on the second attempt you pick the “right” card they will take the other card away and leave you with the card that they wanted you to pick. Obviously, whatever you do you end up with the card that they want you to have.
This is the most basic version of an expansive technique that magicians and psychic entertainers have been using for years and it is the route to great state management when job hunting.
The Problem with Begging for a Job
Most job candidates are entering the job market with an almost begging, pleading attitude that gives all the power to the company. It also does give people, including yourself, the confidence that you are the best candidate for the job.
Imagine what happens to your attitude and the confidence with which you carry yourself if whatever the outcome you know that you win in the long term.
Knowing that You Are Good for the Job
I would like you to walk into the job market with the attitude of knowing you are a great person for the job that you are applying for, and you are just giving the company the opportunity to see that greatness.
If they see it and employ you that is great and if they don’t that is great as well because someone else will see it. It’s Hobson’s choice for the company. Whatever they choose you always win.
How do you get to always to win?
The simple answer is to be in demand. Have a CV or resume that is up to date with skills and experience that are are needed in your industry and network with people both in and outside of your organisation.
The truth is most people do not appreciate just how good they are. They make the assumption that anyone can do their job, or at least they are not necessarily better than others and they undervalue themselves.
The thing I get people to consider is not the list of tasks that they do. You can assume that if you have kept the job for any length of time that you can do all the routine parts of the role. The interesting part from a recruiter’s perspective is what else have you brought to the job.
Think instead of single events, key achievements, special one-off projects. All the things that you do in the job that adds value make you stand out and unique.
A Harsh Truth
I have yet to meet anyone that can’t provide a few key achievements one they have got the hang of thinking like this. But if there are people out there that really can find places where they have added unique value to the role that they have then perhaps they should think about doing that before thinking about a career change.
People that are unemployed and returning to work after a career break are another category that sometimes struggle with this sort of thing. And again by looking at their lives in a slightly different frame they can usually find key achievements.
Mothers returning to work after raising children can usually notch huge amount of key achievements around organisational and management tasks. Once you have organised children and gotten them to school on time on a regular basis you have got the skills of a great manager.
A Live Example
If you are unemployed you have an opportunity to update your skills. It doesn’t have to be in a big way to gain some key achievements from. A few years ago a guy called my office, he was having problems getting back into work after being unemployed due to a stress-related illness.
After talking to him for a few minutes I discovered that to keep himself busy he read a book on point of sale displays and test out some of the ideas in the book he convinced his friend that owned a shop to try out different layouts and display stands.
He then tracked and measured the change in sales of particular items and they established a better layout for the shop for a higher return on investment. All of a sudden the big blank space in this guy’s CV had turned into a master class of key achievements. Right from the gumption of learning stuff right through to a whole development of sales skills.
He went from no one wanting know him to suddenly being called for interview for jobs that were bigger and better than the role he had before he fell ill. All this usually takes is a shift in the way that you are thinking about what you do.
The Cunning Plan
But the really clever thing is not just to stuff your CV and Resume with lots of key achievements. It is about relating all those key achievements to the role that you are applying for.
The Key Point
Once you restructure your CV or Resume with key achievements pointing to how good you would be for the role you are going for. Tailoring it to represent the company values and the core skills of the role it will automatically start pulling interviews.
And then when you have pulled together all your experience and framed it to display benefits for the new role it suddenly becomes easy to project a more confident image in an interview.
Imagine the difference it makes to your attitude when presenting yourself to the company if you:
- Already know that you have several interviews on the way
- Can explain exactly how you will provide a great return on investment in the role
- Are just giving this company the opportunity to discover how valuable you are before one of the many organisations employs you
Is this hard to do?
Not really. It does require a shift in thinking and some practice. But once you have the idea it becomes easy. And very liberating. Many people that I have taken through the system started from the position of feeling trapped in their jobs and ended being in control of their career knowing that they could take it anywhere they wanted. Here are a couple of examples of what is possible (just remember you are in charge of your results though).
Wow is probably the first thing that comes to mind with your Interview Skills system and worth every penny!
I’ve bought many books about how to answer difficult interview questions and preparing for interviews and they all failed to deliver.
After struggling with interviews I decided to get your interview pack as I always knew I can do the job but failed to get past the interview stage.
I remember using your system for my current job and wow the results were amazing, I kept on banging on about able to deliver fantasitc results and giving examples and towards the end of the interview I could feel the interviewer begging me to take the job as he said Will are you still interested in the job? and mentioning how he would see me fit in his organisation.
To cut a long story short the next day I recieved a call with an job offer and if I could start next week.
Hi Rintu ,
We exchanged a few emails before on the success I have had with your CV and interview skills. Heres my 100 word summary of my expereinces.
I knew redundancy was on the cards within the next 6 months so I purchased an electronic copy “interview skills and CV techniques”. I applied for voluntary redundancy and on the same day I applied for another job. I had an interview two days later. I got a call the next day from the agency, I wasn’t very hopefully at such a quick response, however they had called to offer me the job. They decided to cancelled the rest of the interviews as I was the right person. So I collected my redundancy money and walked straight into another job.