Get control of yourself! - Part 6 of Snack Size Bites to Feed Your Soul
It’s been a while since I have written towards my Bite size snacks to feed the soul series. Admittedly, I thought Part 6 was the finale……it wasn’t. As luck (or not) would have it, I’ve had some 'oh so close calls' with some really fantastic opportunities. I won’t bore you with the gory details; only to say my perseverance and resilience muscles have been flexed to the max. "March on," they say, "Don’t worry, the perfect job is coming," they say; I’ve heard it all from many that have had to hear me whine (which I’m internally grateful for). 😘
And maybe, just maybe I’m close ‘again’ to landing that perfect job. Time will tell. 🙏 As I sit here in 'waiting-limbo', I reflected on my Part 1 through 5 blog posts and thought I'd add a little detour, continuing to put myself out there, and address a very lucrative necessity to feed the soul. Taking Control.
Obviously, the notion of control contradicts the notion of feeling an overwhelming need to become wanted aka employed. However, what I’ve learned from this experience is the control of the interview process. This type of control provides calmness and clarity regardless of the outcome. So, I dedicate this Part 6 to my unemployed audience particularly those that are senior in level and age. Below are my experience tips I share with you to feed your soul and gain back some control in your professional life:
Ask for an exit interview. Let’s be clear folks, ‘bad things do happen to good people'. It is therefore important for us high performers who get laid off to give ourselves a break. Asking for an exit interview offers a sense of control of the situation properly allowing one to say goodbye with grace and eloquence. You never want to burn bridges with people that can sponsor your next stint or with a company you could one day return to. Ask for the real reason why this happened as part of your development. For me, I was assured by my VP this was pure cost containment. Regardless, I’ve learned to be accountable for my fate too. That’s another lesson……never take your foot off the gas, no matter how good you are.
There's a lot of buzz around ‘Account-based marketing’ (ABM) right now amongst us fellow marketers. Similarly, I realized this model resembles the ‘Targeted Job Search’ approach! I don’t just mean spraying out to your network. Rather, shortlist the handful of companies that fit YOUR wish list requirements. Like a dog on a bone, I have 3 on my radar that I’m deeply committed to. Delving into the company research, penetrating contacts known and not known to me. Like ABM, there is a nurturing process that is required to be successful. I found this great article https://careerpivot.com/targeted-job-search-series/ for guidance.
Corporate Recruiters can be your new BFF’s. Let’s face it, we all have been gatekept by some not so great talent officers that will emulate a drone asking the textbook questions, in all but 10 minutes, jotting down your answers to the best of their ability and push the paperwork to the hiring manager. Just know, there are the rock stars I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with that take the time to know the person behind the CV, are incredibly responsive and insightful offering advice to help prepare you for the interview process. These are the ones to help you open the golden gate to employment now or in the future. Stay close to these precious ones and to those that have been my BFF’s, I say ‘thank you’ for making these experiences tolerable. 🤗
Proceeding forward past the recruiter means the real work begins to prepare for the ‘x’ number of interviews you will go through. (So far, my record is 8 for one role!)
Push your Linked In profile to your Interviewer. Ask for a connection saying, ‘looking forward to our meeting’. You are marketing yourself and thus pointing them to your digital footprint can help them know you beyond your CV.
Build your Interviewer Persona. Google them; find out their personal and professional interests, read their blogs, tweets, posts. And if they happen to have conducted some video’s online, study them; their mannerisms, demeanor etc. All the above will make the stranger not so much of stranger and will allow the initial introduction to feeling much more familiar thereby putting you more at ease.
If your interviews are remote, ask for a video call. I have to say I’ve been shocked that in this day and age, companies are still conducting business over the phone versus video! Okay, I worked for the biggest collaboration company in the world (download WebEx for free!) so I am a little bias. Those that live in a video culture ‘get it’. The benefits are endless and after all, who doesn’t want to see’ what they are buying? 😊
Now it's prep time. It's unlikely you will know what they are going to ask you nor the format. I’ve been in interviews where it is conversational (my fav kind) vs. the textbook 101 questions. In addition to company research and elaborating on your experience, below are some tidbits to help you gain some control within whats typically a 30-45 minute interview:
Send a ‘conversation starter’ prior to the interview to the Interviewer. Perhaps one PowerPoint slide of your interpretation of the role; a precursor to a VSEM framework (vision strategy execution metrics) etc. Something to talk to that allows you to gain control of the points you want to get across.
Jot down your talking points those I know I want to get across either by above or by answering questions and/or in general conversation.
Be the first to call out your potential shortcomings and be prepared to defend how you will overcome them. Revealing transparency and commitment to always learn are important traits employers look for.
Learn and use the company jargon. All companies have pet names for themselves. Close your interview with your eagerness to be one of them and summarise what you’re committed to doing as ‘one of them’.
Now that you’ve done everything to prepare for the interview, go and clear your head. Take a walk, go for a jog, run on the treadmill...whatever you can do that allows silence and deep breathing. For me, that’s #baileyandme time with my puppy.
Rehearse your points. Now that you’ve had time to develop the script of your key points you want to get across, rehearse them like you’re in a star in a play!
Follow up with an email. Duh
I really do miss the work; I miss collaborating with colleagues; miss ending my day with my husband and friends talking about the work with a glass of wine. Please send your positive vibes my way that my own advice reaps rewards because I’m ready to BRING IT!
Good luck to my fellow unemployed. Stay in control, love life and stay tuned for the final blog of the series!
UPDATE: after I posted this blog, I was faced with the news that yet another position that felt so close, was not. Unforeseen circumstances beyond my control. How's that for irony? Back to the drawing board.