Thursday, December 6, 2012

What’s Your Hurry?

Whether you need a job or there is a mitigating factor causing you to find a new one, it’s a higher priority for you than for most anyone else and the process usually moves slower than you like, or need. The more urgently you need and want a job, the more lethargic the pace feels. In fact, “urgency” is the key word for this blog entry, and it’s the level of urgency a company places on filling the position, which will dictate the fluidity leading to any job offer. Sometimes we get lucky and experience a shared synchronicity, when both you and the company are in the right place at the right time, with a mutually beneficial happy ending. But this is the exception more than the rule and one side or the other usually drags their feet for whatever reason.  

We assume all posted and advertised jobs are of an urgent nature, otherwise why would they be listed, right? But for a variety of reasons the processes are often slow and plod along appearing aimless. Even now during the sluggish economy, companies are hiring but they are taking longer to do and many have added a step before making final decisions. Although the most common reasons for delays are either bureaucratic in nature, poor communication between those running the process, or lack of time due to conflicting schedules of those whose participation is necessary. I am actually amazed some well known companies can even manage to conduct business according to how chaotic and dysfunctional their hiring processes are. I can name a couple of companies I am aware of right now that tell me they have open positions for critical roles they need filled ASAP and, yet, in both cases it’s been over 7 weeks without any definitive decisions and thus far they’ve only conducted one round of interviews. Well apparently, somewhere along the line there is someone who doesn’t think it’s an urgent matter. 

Until you are invited for an interview of any type, there isn’t much you can do but to keep your options as open as possible. Until you have a signed offer in your hand, you should always keep looking and interviewing for other positions, no matter what kind of assurances you get from any company with whom you’ve met. Keep looking for and chasing other opportunities. When you attend a first round interview, add to your list of questions for the interviewer, “What is the urgency level to fill this position?” or, “How quickly do you want to hire for this position?” The answer to this question can help you a lot. Often people leave an interview feeling as if they provided a lot of info but didn’t learn much more after the meeting than they knew beforehand. If this happens to you, it is most often your own fault if, for whatever reason, you failed to ask questions enabling you to make a better informed decision during the interview process.  

For example: they may tell you it is not a high priority position, in which case you can better manage your efforts chasing other opportunities. As a participant in the hiring process, you have every right to know this information. If they give you some attitude as a result, unless you are desperate, you can better consider if this is the kind of environment in which you want to work. In other cases they will say they are looking but waiting until they find the right person, which is a non-answer but at least you’ll give it an effort. In the best situation they may alternatively share with you a heightened level of need to fill the position and, meanwhile, this is yet another factor that will set you apart from the others who just asked about the job description and not much more. Looking at it from their perspective, who will they think has more on the ball, you or others who limit themselves to asking only about title, duties and money. 

Whenever I speak to a client or potential client I always check for the level of urgency and, if they tell me there’s no hurry but they’d like to hire within 6 months, I tell them I’ll follow up in 4 when it’s a higher priority and there will be something to talk about. There’s no sense in wasting time now when I can be pursuing other things more urgent in nature. In the meantime, I channel my efforts with things more immediate or urgent and move less timely items to the back burner until or unless something changes. Many job seekers start smart by pursuing multiple opportunities, but along the way they often end up making the mistake of prematurely focusing and narrowing in on one in particular and neglecting, then forgetting their other simultaneous efforts. If it ends up the job you chose on which to focus, while neglecting others, turns out to have been more of a job wish than a job opportunity you’ll be back to square one scrambling to find those other options you allowed to fall to the way side. Until you have an offer in your hand and a start date, do not stop looking at multiple opportunities. 

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