Headlines blare: “Why You Should Hire Me.” While times may be challenged, there is work (and jobs) to be had. I’ve been in the people (and teams) assessment business for over 25 years , both as a coach to managers and teams and as someone directly responsible for hiring thousands of people through roles running large staffing / recruiting operations. I’ve designed selection processes, designed and run interviewer training programs, and written and spoken on the subjects of recruiting and selection. From that experience I have a pretty good sense of how and why people get hired. “Choose Me, Hire Me!” is a nine part series on the ways people can improve their chances of being hired.
Part 1 – Show Up
Woody Allen’s line “Eighty percent of success is showing up” says it all. I’ve lost count of candidates who failed to show for interviews, missed phone calls, or didn’t send in follow-up materials. The excuses – if there are any – all are good and ultimately lame, and they’ve come from senior exec to factory worker job candidates.
Rule Number One for gaining an advantage in the hiring process is showing up and showing up on time. If Hillary Clinton had shown up in caucus states, Barack Obama’s road to the nomination could have been Hillary’s. It’s usually not that tough; it takes a little planning and humility to realize the job is not yours until it’s actually offered.
It also means getting to interviews on time – and preferably a little before. If you have a chance of your schedule of running late, rearrange it so you run early. There is little problem with showing up at a receptionist desk with the phrase “I’m running early and I’ll wait here and read if that’s OK.” Bring material to kill the time if you hate doing nothing. If it’s more than 15 minutes take a walk around the block once or twice. If you’re going to be late, call – that’s the reason mobile phones are made.
When – not if – you send follow-up thank you notes or e-mails, send them right away. No sense being late in thanking someone. And lastly, when you say you are going to do something (i.e. following up references, collateral material, etc.) do it, and do it when (or a little before) you say you will.
An adage in sports is “Don’t beat yourself.” The saying holds true in getting hired: doing things that you don’t do that you could do, should do, and can do, will trip you up.
While it’s not true, as F. Scott Fitzgerald claims, that “There are no second acts in American lives:” it sure feels like it. Showing up, being on time and doing the things you say will separates you favorably from other candidates.
Next post – Part 2 – Know Yourself