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Why Hiring Stalls And Recruiters Don’t Communicate With You

April 30th, 2021

About a month ago I was asked by the CEO of a company I work with to find a front end developer. That is someone who specializes in making a website beautiful and delightful… not necessarily on optimizing database stuff or some of the behind-the-scenes work. This type of person is in demand…. which is important to this whole story.

Disclaimer: I am not a trained or full-time recruiter. I’m not speaking for recruiters, I’m just sharing my recent experience.

So I worked with the CEO and lead developer to create a job description, posted it on a special board, and got about twelve applications right away. I went through them, scored them based on qualifications, and presented a short list to the team. We talked about it, and reached out to I think five people to set up interviews.

We heard from one person.

Remember, these are people who reached out to us, responding to the job posting.

That was okay. The one person who replied was on our short-short list. We had a good interview, and then… I (being the main contact) was ghosted.

GHOSTED.

Hiring Ghosted

I value good communication, and ghosting someone is not what I would call good communication. The longer I was ghosted the less interested I was in this short-listed candidate.

Communication…. lol. I said I value good communication, and I was upset that i wasn’t hearing from this candidate. All the while, there were new applicants I wasn’t hearing from. Oopsie. This is such a two-way road, and throw in the human factor and we have the perfect storm for misunderstandings and such. Instead of saying what all the candidates I reached out to did wrong, I’ll share why I did not communicate well (from the job seeker’s perspective). These are going to sound like excuses, but that’s not my intention. My intention with this post is to paint a bit more of the landscape of finding the right hire, and sharing why the “candidate experience” can suck.

I’m Busy Doing Other Things

I’m sorry to say this but you aren’t my first priority. And, this task (of finding a front end) might not be my first priority this hour, or today. I have things going on. I’m not a recruiter, but recruiters can have multiple, even dozens of “open recs” they are trying to fill. As we focus on what is most urgent to us right now we might be letting you, the important stuff, get paused. Not great, I know, but this is a reality you need to understand.

Just a couple of months after I launched JibberJobber, in July of 2006, I wrote Sense of Urgency, a frustrating take on how the job seeker’s sense of urgency is “I need a job now, today!” while an employer’s sense of urgency might mean, “We need you now… well, maybe next quarter!”

I’m Busy Working With Other Candidates

When I narrowed down on “the short list,” and then started responding to people from that short list, I was focused on them. We already talked about who we wanted to focus on, which meant not talking much (or at all) with others. We needed to focus on what we chose to focus on, which might not mean you. This is the root of me ghosting others. It’s lame but it is why you might not hear from me.

Does it mean you are a “no?” Not necessarily. That depends on what happens with my shortlist. Again, not making excuses, just sharing why I’m not communicating with you.

My Customer (the Hiring Manager) Changed My Direction

This actually happened… there were some pretty important changes with my customer, who is the person making the hiring decision (not you, the job seeker). They brought in another candidate, and we spent time with that top candidate while even putting the short list on hold. Then there were some strategic and customers things that came up that might have changed our entire direction, and put this position on hold…

Uncertainty sucks. Years ago I was in serious conversations with an outplacement company about a relationship that would have been very good for JibberJobber (lots of moola!!), but then all of the sudden I heard nothing from my contact for months. It was so frustrating from being super close to signing on the dotted line to getting ghosted for months. Did I mention “for months?” Talk about frustrating. Anyway, I found out that company was getting acquired, and there was a moratorium on communication which impacted me in a huge way. It sucked but we couldn’t do anything about it.

Strategies, direction, budgets, interests, etc. change. And those changes impact our lives.

I’ve Focused My Communication On People Who Have Paid Attention

This one really got under my skin. I sent messages out to the shortlist asking when we could talk, and requesting they get one other bit of information. I think out of ten people I asked for one more bit of information, TWO got it back to me. TWO. It was as if the others didn’t read my email.

Well, front end developer is a technical role. If you can’t pay attention to my short email, read the specs, and respond with what I’m asking for, what does that mean for your “attention to detail?” I didn’t do this as a test, to see who has attention to detail. I did this as a legitimate request. Not for fun, but for real. I needed that information. 20% actually got it back to me.

If you don’t hear back from me it could be because I have seen some red or yellow flags from the first time we communicated, including you missing something I’ve asked for.

Now, if I were your boss I’d coach you through it. But I don’t need to give unsolicited information/feedback to 8 people I don’t know, who didn’t even read my short email in the first place. If I ask for something, take it seriously.

I’m Waiting to Hear Back From My Top Picks

My top pics, the short list of the short list, should be in communication with me. But that might take a few days, then I reply, then I wait a day or two, then I reply, then a day or two later I hear back from them. This means a week, or weeks, could go by while I’m in that mode… and not communicating with you. I’d like to communicate with you but I don’t really have anything to say. “I’m waiting to hear back from my #1 pick… I’ll let you know if something changes.” Or, “I’m waiting to hear if they say yes, and if they don’t I’ll come talk to you.” That sounds kind of dumb, and I don’t want you to think you are bottom of the barrel or last choice. So I just don’t reach out and update you, especially if I haven’t heard from you for a while.

I’m Human

I make mistakes. I might have reached out to everyone and thought I included you, but I might have missed you. Or missed your last email. I’m not a robot and I’ll make mistakes and miss things. The saying “slip through the cracks” is common because it commonly happens. I bet you have it happen to (which is why I recommend JibberJobber as a job search tracker and organizer).

I’m Making This Up As I Go

I mentioned above that I’m not a trained or full-time recruiter. I know a lot of recruiters, and I reach out and chat with them, but they have years, decades of experience that I don’t have. I’ll make mistakes. That might mean I overcommunicate, maybe giving too much hope. I do this a few times a year, not a few times a week… so I’ll never be amazing at it. But that’s okay. It’s one of my job opportunities, not my chosen career. I am pretty good at parts of it, I think, but a lot of it is stuff I *think* is right, and I’ll just make mistakes.

Again, I’m not writing this post as an apology, and to offer excuses. I want my job seekers on JibberJobber to really understand why they may be getting ghosted by the recruiter or hiring manager.

So, what can you do about it?

COMMUNICATE TO/WITH ME

Instead of waiting to hear back, which could take a while because of the reasons I’ve listed above, get back on my mind and in front of my eyeballs by communicating with me. I know this can be uncomfortable, and perhaps doing it might annoy the person on the other end. But what do you have to lose? I’d rather you reach out and show interested and sell yourself (not hard, but genuinely and passionately).

Be tactful, be professional, and be hopeful. But don’t sit back and assume I have my stuff completely together and just wait to hear from me. If you are really interested, communicate with me.

What Else Can You Do?

As I work through my top pics, and for whatever reason they get selected out (they are too expensive, they are bad communicators, we interviewed them and there is clearly a technical or cultural deficiency, etc.) the next round of candidates starts to move up to top spot. This is a fluid process and who looked great at first might be a no-go, leaving room for my second picks.

Don’t get offended at being a second pick. I might have to weed through what I thought was awesome to find you, who happens to be the best and right hire. Work with me, communicate with me, make sure you don’t fall off because of bad branding or communication, and we might start a beautiful professional relationship.

But don’t get discouraged to the point where you are mad, bitter, or non-communicative. Those people end up on another list I keep… a list of  “I would never hire these people because they burned bridges.”

The job search is hard and grueling. I know it is. It sucks. It feels demoralizing. But it is also riddled with human error… so fill in those gaps with your proactive and positive strategies and tactics.

You can do this. We can do this together.

UPDATE: The position was put on hold for a bit, and not it is not on hold. Those who stuck with me and communicated with me are in the running… hang in there!

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That Time I Networked With Randy

January 9th, 2020

JibberJobber Network Clubs

A hundred years ago, in 2006, I forced myself to get to a network meeting for job seekers.

When I say forced, I really didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to take the time, which I thought was not as productive as sitting on my laptop monitoring Monster job postings, and hoping to be one of the first to apply. I didn’t want to network with people who didn’t have a job because, frankly, I judged them to be broken, or unhireable, or whatever. Yes, I was that much of a jerk. I know some of you have the same thoughts, though.

But really… what good would networking with people who didn’t have a job be? How could those who needed, and couldn’t give, help me?

I was a short-sighted dork.

But on that fateful morning, after a couple of false starts and fake attempts, I walked through the doors and experienced something that would be life changing.

As we went around the room so everyone could introduce themselves, I listened in awe. You see, I was expecting broken people with bad careers and having made poor career choices. But I heard person after person share their 30 second pitch, and was shocked that the people in the room were accomplished professionals. They were well spoken, well dressed, and really cool people.

Why were they there, then? Every person had their own story (which they didn’t share in their 30 second pitch). I learned about company mergers and acquisitions, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who had a toxic boss, I learned about discrimination, and other things that go into downsizing. Of course, some people were there because of their own doing… but it was there that I looked around and realized:

I was not alone.

For about six weeks I had been alone. Very alone. And lonely.

But going to a network meeting with job seekers was exactly what I needed to start to heal. Instead of sitting on Monster waiting for a new posting to apply to, judging myself and wondering what was wrong with me, I could talk to, listen to, and learn from people who had great careers and were also unemployed.

It really was an epic moment for me.

And then there was Randy. Randy was at least ten years older than I was. He was, in my mind, an executive. When he did his 30 second pitch I thought “oh my, that is almost exactly my pitch!” Project management, product management, general manager. The difference was that I was coming out of a tiny company with little-to-no mentoring, and very small-scale experience. I guessed that Randy had 20 years of REAL general manager experience. He was the real deal.

Randy came, a few weeks later, to say he landed a job, and thanks for everything. He then pulled me aside and told me about how LinkedIn was so critical to his job search. I was hesitant… I was already looking at job boards all day and felt like I had too many accounts elsewhere… did I really need to get on LinkedIn, too?

Laughable, I know.

Randy made a huge impression on me. I saw in him what I could be in the next 10 or 20 years in my career. I saw a strong, self-confident professional who was at a not fun part of his career, but held his chin up and moved forward, optimistic that he would land well.

He gave me hope for the future. His example encouraged me to move forward. He helped me understand that job clubs were not full of broken people or losers.

Whether you go to job clubs to learn about job search techniques (mine were outdated), to network with others (job seekers make some of the best networkers), to get your name out there (stand in front of 30 or 60+ people and give a good 30 second pitch and you’ll start this process), or just to be around other humans… I don’t care why you go. Just go. Go so that it can be your lifeline.

You never know, maybe YOU will be someone else’s lifeline.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about job clubs over the years:

10 Reasons to Frequent Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs and Job Ministries

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Understanding Headhunter Ethics #AskTheHeadhunter

August 20th, 2019

JibberJobber Recruiter Job Seeker AnxietyWhen I was in my 2006 job search I thought that recruiters, headhunters, etc. would be my best friends. I thought I would get on their radar, they would be excited to know I was available, and hustle to get me my dream job while they were working towards some sweet commission. Talk about a win-win!

Turned out that there was only one friendly interaction with a recruiter, and that was the one who finally candidly said:

“Jason, you’ll get yourself a job before I get you a job.”

It was this recruiter who helped me understand that no, I wasn’t special to him, and no, he wasn’t going to get me my next job. It really was all on me.

I had a gross misunderstanding of how recruiters worked, and what they would “do for me.”

In yesterday’s Ask The Headhunter post titled My headhunter is competing with me!, Nick Corcodilos goes deeper into this relationship. I think it’s critical for us, as job seekers, to understand how we work with (and don’t work with) headhunters. Why? Because if we have the wrong expectations we will be working the wrong way.

Here’s insight that I needed to understand back in 2006:

 “The [recruiter’s] goal is to fill the job, not to get you a job.”

Read that five times. Print it out and put it on your bathroom mirror and your monitor. You have to understand that recruiters don’t work for you. And unless you fit something they are looking to fill, they have already passed you over. There’s no “file” where they keep hot candidates like you. They’ll tell you they’ll file your stuff away, but I’ve heard more than one recruiter say their “file” got too big, so they just deleted everything so they could start from scratch.

This knowledge was unsettling to me at first. But then it became freeing. When I understood that I was going to find a job for me before any recruiter would, I realized that I had to do the right stuff in my job search. The wrong stuff was to get 30+ recruiters “working for me.” Because none of them worked for me. None of them even thought about me for more than 20 seconds (which was how long it took to think about their open jobs and whether I was a great fit).

It was all on me. Instead of me being a tool to the recruiter, they were a tool to me. And that tool was best left in the toolbox while I did a real job search.

I’m not saying recruiters suck, or are ruthless, or have no soul. They simply have a job to do. We, as job seekers, haven’t understood their job, and so we have expectations that are not only unfair but unrealistic.

Understand how that part of the job search world works and you can spend your time where you really should.

Read Nick’s post to understand, and then take personal responsibility in your job search and get on my Job Search Program. The $197 cost will be worth it.

 

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Techorama in Belgium #SoftSkills

May 21st, 2019

Two years ago I was in Antwerpen, Belgium, speaking at Techorama. I couldn’t go last year because of my job, but this year I’m back!  I miss my travel buddies, and I’m not staying 4.5 weeks this time, but I am staying long enough to hopefully acclimate to the time change. I was once in Istanbul speaking, and I flew in, spoke 8 hours, then flew out. It was horrible.  I’m here for a full week this time.

The Techorama conferences is one of the very best conferences I’ve seen. It is at a movie theater, which accomodates over 1,500 high tech attendees. The speakers they bring in are best in class… and the vibe is exciting. I appreciate the Techorama team letting me come back this year!

If you are in Europe and want to go to an awesome IT conference, check them out. October will be in Amsterdam… they have now expanded to two conferences a year!

Techorama Belgium 2019

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Why I’m Writing My 4th Book

January 19th, 2018

“I will never do that again.”

I thought that, and I’m pretty sure I said this to my wife, after I finished I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

Writing a book is a big, time-consuming process. It taxes you mentally and is challenging. Making the time, week after week, to keep writing is hard. Second-guessing your ideas is common (but good).

When I wrote my LinkedIn book I honestly had no idea what the benefits would be (they were great, both financial and as it relates to my career and marketing of JibberJobber).

I coauthored my second book on Facebook, which was a different kind of hard.  Then my third book (51 Alternatives to a Real Job) was self-published… and I needed to write it but haven’t marketed it. It was THE book that most people asked about at the end of my presentations, though. Everyone was interested in alternatives to a traditional job.

I’ve really enjoyed the time off, but there has been another book that’s been nagging me. It started, I think, when Susan Joyce (owner of Job-Hunt.org) was with me during some presentations in the Boston area. She said “I know what the title of your next book should be!”

“My next book?! I was a retired author,” I thought.

But once you get the author bug, it’s hard to shake it. Like mono, you have it for life. Many times over the years I have thought “man, I could write a book about this.” Worse, sometimes I have thought “I should write a book about this!”

This fourth book is different from the rest. It is a collection of ideas, thoughts, observations, and suggestions that I’ve accumulated over the last twelve years. It includes brilliant ideas I’ve had (I figure I have a brilliant idea every 18 months), tactics and tips for job seekers I’ve come across, and strategy and thoughts for professionals interested in career management (that is, taking a bigger role in managing their own careers).

As I’ve been working on this book it’s one that I have thought my future generations might read and think “huh… great-great-great-grandpa was kind of cool.” Or at least “really interesting.” Unlike my first three books (which are too technical and will be irrelevant in a hundred years, the third is money making ideas that are good now but probably won’t be in a hundred years) this book is more principal-based… and principals can last for centuries. This book would be, as they say, evergreen.

So, why am I writing this book, and what does it have to do with you? Think about the “why” below, and realize that while I’m doing this as owner of JibberJobber, you are the owner of Me, Inc. (and should consider your own big project, whether it’s a book or not):

It’s a brand and marketing play. This book keeps me relevant as an expert in this space. It gives me something to talk about (self-promotion) and it gives others a reason to talk about me (and JibberJobber). I’ve learned that if I stop making things, people stop having reasons to think and talk about me. A key principal in marketing is to create new things and stay relevant. How can YOU, as a job seeker, apply this principal to your marketing strategy?

It’s to monetize: No secret here, I hope to sell a lot of these. I’ll market this book mostly through JibberJobber, to people who sign up for the system. This is a perfect book for them. I hope that somehow it gets bigger than just my immediate audience though. I think it’s a super relevant book for the whole world. I could write pages and pages on this topic, but the idea is to create another passive revenue stream (passive because once I write the book and get the right systems in place for marketing and delivering it, I don’t plan on spending hardly any time on it, but I do expect it to create a revenue stream worth hundreds of dollars per month for a long time).

It’s to help me rethink and challenge my expertise: I sit at my home office and interact with a handful of people every day. I am not on stage nearly as much as I was a few years ago. I’ve found that when I was on stage I got challenged regularly… either by myself or by others. I had ideas and I put them out there to audiences that would help me refine my thoughts. But sitting alone in an office doesn’t force you to challenge and refine your thoughts. Writing a book does, though. As you write you think and rethink and second-guess. This is an excellent way to really figure out where you are at and what you think and what you champion. I learned it’s even better (for this purpose) than writing a blog. You see, I can edit a blog post any time… but once your book is printed, the idea is out there. It’s way more permanent, and so you are more careful as you write down what will be definitive statements and positions.

It’s the right thing to do. The ideas in this book have been building over the twelve years I’ve been doing JibberJobber. And, for a few years before that, as I immersed myself into corporate America. The thoughts have been nagging at me. I just feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do. Apparently writing is what I do, and authoring books is what I do (it’s taken years to be at peace with this).

As you think about my journey, and my decision, I hope you will implement some of this in your own journey. Whether you do “that thing” (might not be writing a book) because it’s nagging at you, or it will refine you, or it will be a new revenue stream for you, one thing I know is that you have to START, and consistently follow through. I want you to be a FINISHER, and finish your projects.

Can you do that?

Here’s a relevant quote I saw on my friend Wendy Terwelp’s Facebook feed:

jibberjobber-blog-louislamour-quote

 

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Book Recommendation: Learn How The Experts Do It

January 17th, 2018

There are a few reasons I am recommending this book, none of which have to do with the fact that I know the author Steve Thomas and his awesome wife Kris. I want to share this book because Steve has built a really cool company and is helping a lot of people. He is also a brilliant communicator, and if you have anything to do with fundraising, or non-profits, or marketing, you should learn from him.  If you are a job seeker, you can learn from his email (below) as far as formatting and message, and from his book on how to communicate with people and ask for things when you are uncomfortable.

The regular price is not a big deal (ten bucks), but for the next few days you can get this kindle book for only 99 cents.  What are you waiting for?  Here’s Steve’s email… go get this book!

Hi Jason,

My name’s Steve Thomas.

You and I are connected through Linked In. Our connection might not be any deeper than that. But I suspect you do understand the opportunities that come from some of these connections.jibberjobber_donoricity_book

If you are a nonprofit professional or fundraiser or know someone who focuses on communicating with donors, you might find my 99 cent Kindle book promotion interesting. (On Monday, Amazon will reset the price back to $9.99).

About 4 years ago, I set out to write a book telling the secret to raising more dollars from donors. It took much longer than I expected. Candidly, it was really challenging to write what I know.

I own two advertising agencies that create powerful fundraising day in and day out for nonprofit clients, year after year. These strategies were born in the trenches of that fundraising work.

What’s very cool, is that not only do these strategies raise more money, donors will love what you’re doing.

I’m not a professor or ivory tower PhD who teaches the theory.  I raise money for a variety of nonprofit clients. And using these strategies we’ve been successfully raising money for years.

The book is:

Donoricity: Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit with Strategies Your Donors Crave

That’s right Donoricity.

You pronounce it like electricity, simplicity or felicity.

I’m pretty pleased with it, and I think you’ll love it if you live in the fundraising or donor development world.

Donoricity will help you if:

  • You’re feeling that your communications aren’t connecting with your donors.
  • You’re sick of fundraising that’s embarrassing.
  • You’re weary of programs and systems that don’t really fit you.
  • You’re wondering if there was something missing from your fundraising efforts.
  • You’re thinking that there just had to be a better way.

Donoricity was born in the trenches of fundraising and marketing. It’s real-world tested. It works.

The solutions you’ll find in Donoricity will help organizations from start-up to huge.

You can get the first chapter on audio, see my video and find out more at Donoricity.com.

As I mentioned, beginning today, I’m offering the Kindle version of Donoricity for just 99 centsMonday, January 22nd, the price goes up to $9.99.

So for 99 cents you can see for yourself and improve your donor relationships. It’s a good value. And I think you’ll find it refreshing.

Thanks for checking it out. Let me know what you think.

st

Did you get the book yet?

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Awesome Google Tips and Tricks Hacks from Job-Hunt!

January 15th, 2018

Susan Joyce loves to share ideas on how to optimize LinkedIn… she has a really good article on her site, Job-Hunt:

google-job-search-job-hunt

That post is really a reference page… don’t try to consume it all at once, but it would be good to bookmark it and come back to it.

Thanks Susan!

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Eric Shannon on Job Search Strategies and Tactics

January 5th, 2018

You probably haven’t heard of Eric Shannon. He’s a super cool guy, and really smart. He’s also been in the job board space for 20 years. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had a few calls and emails with him over the years, and I respect everything he’s shared with me.  So now it’s my turn to share something awesome, from him, with you.

eric_shannon_linkedin

Eric wrote a post titled Use big-ticket sales techniques to get in the game – how to land the interview you want. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. It’s deep, and kind of long, but it’s definitely a post I can stand behind.

As a bonus, his followup is a post on how to land the job offer. Great stuff!

 

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Not in a Job Search? Start Using JibberJobber Now…

August 16th, 2017

Most people who read my blog and use JibberJobber are job seekers.

I say most… but there are a few users who are not in a job search.

I have users who are “happily employed.” They are competent, they make good money, and like what they do.

Why would they use JibberJobber? We originally created it as a tool to organize and manage a job search

Because they know how easy it is for things to change.

You know what’s amazing? The tens of thousands of people at Enron who one day had a great job, the next day they were locked out of their building and their entire retirement fund was dried up. Ouch.

They were competent, they made good money, and some of them even liked what they did.

And then it dried up.

Can you imagine being forty and having to start preparing for retirement from the beginning?

Can you imagine being sixty four, months away from a great retirement, and then learning that NO, there is no money?  WHAT DO YOU DO??

Oh, but Enron is an example that is too dramatic, right? That just doesn’t happen to everyone, or many people, right?

I have a phrase I use in my presentations to job clubs: “getting Enroned.” It means you are doing your job, either well or extremely well, and all of the sudden, due to no fault of your own, you have no job (and none of the promises, like retirement). It goes away overnight.

Focus on this:

“no fault of your own

I’ve heard many reasons for this… including:

  • You loved your old boss, but you got a new one and you are like oil and water. There’s no way that you will both be employed for much longer.
  • You are part of the back office and the sales team just announced they lost their biggest contract, and sales will be down by millions.
  • The investors of the company you work for just pulled some funding off the table, and have demanded that the execs start trimming fat and cutting costs.
  • You were recreating on your own time and got poked in the eye with a branch, and now you have recurring medical conditions that have a serious impact on your performance. It was an accident, but you can’t do your job, so you are gone.
  • You love your job but one day go to the office and can’t get in. Turns out your boss was doing illegal stuff and not only is the company (including you) under investigation, the boss is IN JAIL.
  • You have done an excellent job and your company is getting acquired. The only problem is, the acquiring company already has someone who does your job, and they aren’t about to get let go. You are out.
  • Someone accuses you of something inappropriate and for some reason the investigation isn’t thorough, and before you know it you are on the street wondering what just happened.
  • The boss’s boss’s boss’s admin doesn’t like you… and you are done.

Any of these sound familiar?  These are not “with cause” reasons to lose your job, but the result is the same: you are out of a job! 

It’s kind of like being in an accident… even if it wasn’t your fault, and even if the insurance money comes your way, or you can sue for damages, you still lost something. It’s just rotten all around.

Losing your job, for whatever reason, can be unsettling. Sometimes it’s unfair, many times it sucks, and of course, sometimes it is a blessing in disguise. But you are still left jobless.

This is why some people who use JibberJobber to organize and manage contact relationships and target companies are happily employed. Because they know that something might happen, and they want to be as prepared as they can.

What does that mean? How do they use JibberJobber?

They are adding contacts, new and old, to their system. It’s a lot more fun to start a job search (and network) when you have a list of names than to be freshly laid-off, staring at a blank piece of paper trying to come up with your network.

They are logging conversations, or important information (like birthdays or contact info or who we met info). A name becomes a relationship once you start adding this additional information about your contacts.  This is real, meaty stuff you can use to take the relationship to the next level.

They are tracking companies they might be interested in working at. They might have customers or vendors or partners they work with, and have a company record and relevant contacts listed… what an awesome bit of intelligence they’ll have when it’s time to start networking into companies!

They are using it as a networking and follow-up tool, because networking is not just for job seekers! JibberJobber allows you to log and track conversations, emails, etc., and set up reminders to remind you to follow-up. Networking without follow-up is like eating without food!

Should you use JibberJobber? YEP! Start now… when you are in transition, you’ll be very grateful!

 

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Job Searching With Vocal Handicap #UserQuestions

April 21st, 2017

I got an interesting email from someone who has seen my Pluralsight courses… he says:

I’ve completed a couple of your courses on Pluralsight and have found them to be most helpful. Having been with the same IT consulting firm for almost 19 years, I’m doing a relatively “late career” networking/job search. Your courses (Build a Killer Brand, Career Management 2.0, Informational Interviews) have helped me jump-start a process that, frankly, has been difficult for me in the past.

One reason for the difficulty is because I am vocally handicapped, the result of a work accident 24 years ago. Networking in a crowded, noisy room such as at a conference is just plain difficult. Presently, I’m doing the informational interview thing and the one-on-ones are much easier than talking to someone at a large function. But I just can’t easily walk up to someone and strike up a conversation when there’s background noise.

I’m wondering if you have any tips for someone like me who cannot easily project his voice and, if I have to, tire very easily.

What a great question. I imagine that Charles feels unique, and at a disadvantage.  Here’s what I’ve learned: we all feel unique, and at a disadvantage.  Every single job seeker I’ve met feels that way.  

Well, not the ones who are Type A, and just starting their job search. But time has a way of wearing on you, and once you are at the third week, or the third month, you feel unique, and at a disadvantage.

I don’t say this to minimize Charles’ voice issues. Not at all. But I do want you (everyone) to know that everyone in this job search community feels inadequate, with challenges to overcome.  Well, maybe there are those who don’t feel that way, but they are the weirdos :p

Anyway, what is my recommendation for Charles?  I’ve had a couple of days to think about this, and here’s my advice:

Don’t worry about networking in groups.

That seems to be the crux of the “problem” from his email.  He has this idea that you, as a job seeker, are supposed to go to network meetings and … network.

Well, that’s true. You should. But let’s redefine network meetings and network:

Redefining network meetings

The high impact network meetings might be job clubs (or job ministries, depending on where you live), industry or professional luncheons, meetings sponsored by a company with a special speaker, conferences, etc.  These are places where there (a) are lots of people, and (b) is lots of background noise. You know who really has a hard time at these types of network meetings? Introverts.

But a network meeting doesn’t have to be a conference, event, etc. It could be much smaller, and more intimate.

When I read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi I realized that networking doesn’t mean meet a ton of people at a place, shake a lot of hands, collect a lot of business cards, and have a lot of superficial conversations with people I’ll probably not talk to again, even though there were promises like “let’s have lunch sometime!”  Ah, sometime.  That time in the future that never happens.

Redefining networking 

What I learned from Ferrazzi is that networking doesn’t have to be big-crowd and superficial. The goal, actually, is to start relationships and nurture relationships. For me, that happens one-on-one, and over time.

I hated the idea of networking because I thought it was big crowd, pass business cards, smile a lot, ask them about themselves (a la How To Win Friends and Influence People), and maybe… just maybe, have a second meeting in a more intimate environment.

But Ferrazzi gave me permission to ignore the benefit of inefficiencies (that is, that you could get a bunch of connections in a large group) and rethink networking at a one-on-one exercise.  This realization was liberating.

How does this apply to Charles?  Let me suggest that if being in a crowd where his voice isn’t heard because he can’t project is not fun, nor productive, that he goes with a different purpose. I almost wrote “that he doesn’t even go there, and do other networking stuff.”  But really, if he can go to networking meetings and have face-time with people, he should. Having a physical presence is a good thing. But instead of thinking that you go to these big crowd networking events to talk to a lot of people, what if you went in with completely different goals?

When I go to a network meeting now, my goal is to talk to at least one person. But it has to be the right person.  Let me give you an example… a few years ago I went to a really big, really noisy networking event. It was where all of the Pluralsight “authors” (or, content producers like me) met, with a bunch of the Pluralsight staff.  The truth is, I have very little in common with the authors (except that we all spent a ton of time and energy making videos by ourselves… so there’s a camaraderie there), and really not much to talk about with the staff.  I was kind of a black sheep at Pluralsight, not offering technical training (which was their core), instead doing these weird courses on how to listen better… soft skills as they called it, professional development as I would come to call it.

So why go? Who do I talk with?  What is the reason to spend a couple of days out of my office and hang out with these guys?

I had ONE meeting that changed everything. It changed my relationship with Pluralsight. It changed the courses I would work on. It changed my enthusiasm for where they were heading. The meeting was so impactful that I realized I needed to get home, finish what I was working on, and then totally change directions with the content I was proposing.

That one meeting, with the right person, has impacted my work and my income every day for the last few years.

Instead of trying to meet as many people as I could, and “brand myself,” and get X number of business cards over the weekend conference, I went in with ONE question, and I wanted to ask someone who was in a position to answer the question with real knowledge (not just assumptions).

I found the person, asked the question, and the rest is history.

One question, one person.

How does this apply to Charles?

Let me suggest that when you go to network meetings, you fully understand the purpose of going. It is not for the food, it is not to get out of the house, it is not to be seen… it is to make the right one connection with the right one person.  If you make a great connection with more than one person, great! Bonus!! But don’t fall into the trap that this is a numbers game and if you come back with less than ten business cards then you failed.

What’s your one question?  Who’s the right connection?

If it were me, I would go in with the purpose of starting a relationship with someone who could help me move to the next level. I would probably try to eventually get an informational interview with that person, not then, but later, and then build that relationship. Or, get introductions from that person and have more informational interviews.

This is networking. Finding and building relationships over time. Networking is not being in a crowded room, competing for talk time. No matter what everyone tells you, you don’t have to go to networking events to network.

In fact, many of my JibberJobber users live in places where there aren’t appropriate network events they can go to. They might live in a town that doesn’t have any, or a city that has none of their peers or colleagues. They might be in such a specialized niche that there are only a few hundred, or a few thousand, people they should network with.

So what do they do?  Well, in the olden days (a few years ago) they would go to industry conferences. Expensive and time consuming, but great to meet the right people.  Today, a lot of what you need to do can be done online. While there are a number of sites to do this, LinkedIn is the 8,000 pound gorilla.  There’s really no compelling reason to go to another site, at least at the beginning of your online networking ventures.

Here’s what I suggest to Charles: (a) know what his questions are, and then (b) find the right people he should talk to about those questions. Find them on LinkedIn and reach out to them, and start the relationship.

It might be just an email or message at first, but eventually he should get to the point where he is on the phone, face-to-face, or simply just having deeper and more frequent emails.

That is networking. Nurturing relationships with regular communication. It’s not strutting around a conference room like a peacock, showing off or acting extroverted… it’s real, meaningful relationships.

My guess is that Charles already knows this… but if he was like me when I started my job search (and when I first started networking), I had assumptions of what was successful and what was failure. Staying home, unbathed and on the computer (I’m talking about me, not Charles :)), was failure, especially when there was a networking event I should have gone to.

Ferrazzi’s book, and learning about relationships, simply gave me permission to do what I already knew I should have been doing: finding and nurturing relationships, one-by-one.

Deep down, I knew what to do, I just needed permission to not do what I thought job seekers did.

If that’s you, I give you permission to do what is right for you. If that is going to lots of meetings, great. But for many of you, it’s sitting behind your computer, using LinkedIn as a tool, finding the right people, and then starting your professional relationship with them.

 

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