August 14, 2018

What I’m Seeing Out There (Mid-Summer Edition)

Days are getting shorter, but the heat continues!  Here’s the latest word from the professional-engagement (and hiring) street

Happy dog-days of summer!

I love this time of year.  The heat is still in full effect, but you can start to smell Pumpkin Spice in the air (or maybe that’s all the smoke we’re experiencing in the PNW). Either way, I hope you’ve been able to get out there and enjoy yourself these past several weeks.

Summer certainly hasn’t slowed down on the hiring front, as many organizations are going through re-orgs (or starting new fiscal years) and more-and-more professionals are looking for that perfect next gig.

As a follow-up to my early-summer “What I’m seeing out therenewsletter, I thought I’d give you the latest/greatest on what my clients are experiencing on their Engaged Pursuit.  Of course, there’s nothing scientific to these trends – just what folks (mostly tech) are experiencing while looking for a better, more engaging fit.

Here’s what I’m seeing out there mid-summer:

The process is taking longer than expected.  As I highlighted previously, it’s a “buyer’s” market, so the candidate experience is taking longer than expected.  It’s a GOOD 4-6 months from the start of the search to landing somewhere great, so build that into your process (and prepare for it mentally).  While I think this amount of time is probably right (you don’t want to jump into just anything), it isn’t a quick process.  Plan accordingly.

Get ready for the salary question… early.  Recruiters and Hiring Managers are talking money very early in the process (and most likely want a “number” when you’re going through the application process). So be prepared.  Do your research (PayScale, GlassDoor, your network, Indeed, etc) prior to starting the process.  You don’t want to be caught without a confident answer to “What are your salary expectations?”  In addition, you should also know the organization’s compensation model PRIOR to interviewing – this will come in handy as you get further down the negotiation path.  Need help? Shoot me an email.

Job Descriptions are (still) all over the place.  It’s funny – Job Descriptions either ask for everything-but-the-kitchen-sink or they are so broad you have no idea what the organization is looking for in the open position.  I’ve discussed this “Job Description vs Reality” issue previously and candidates are still confused (and not sure if they should even apply).  My two cents (for candidates) – use the Job Description as a talking point in your networking/informational discussions.  Get clarification.  Understand what they’re really looking for.  And still apply.  My other two cents (for Hiring Managers) – please spend time creating a realistic (and easy-to-understand) Job Description.  A little focus here will go a long way!

People don’t know how to interview.  We all prepare for the super-intense and scary interview, right? Well I’m noticing that many people within organizations ACTUALLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO INTERVIEW. Questions all over the place, late to the discussion, no idea what the Hiring Manager (or broader organization) is looking for, and not good with some of the basics (eye contact, speed, quiet space, etc). Now more than ever, I’m coaching clients on how to handle bad interviewers whether it be early in the process (Informationals) or late in the process (actual Hiring Managers).

The early stages of the process are (still) super clunky.  From job portals not confirming application submission to Recruiters completely ghosting candidate screenings, the early parts of the process are sometimes really disappointing.  I’m seeing this A LOT with clients – texts that read “no one called me for my phone screen” or “turns out they were looking for something completely different” or “it’s been 3 weeks, I haven’t heard anything since my first conversation.” These are (sadly) typical.  I get that this is stressful.  Keep at it, though…when it’s a good fit, none of this will happen (promise!).

Your questions can set you apart.  I always ask clients what they plan to ask the interview team during their discussion. Nine times out of 10 I get a blank stare.  Don’t wait until the last minute to create your list of questions – this is a great way to set yourself apart and learn if this opportunity is the right fit for YOU. The question(s) for your future manager is crucial, as this relationship is the most important one you will have on the job (and the #1 reason why people leave and/or become disengaged if it goes south).  I recommend at least 4 questions per person if possible (and please go beyond “Do you like it here?”).

Your homework this week:Re-read my early summer edition of “What I’m seeing out there” and come-up with your own survival guide. Whether it’s staying close to your network, going to the gym more to de-stress, or working with me through the difficult parts, those with a plan are much more successful in my experience. Believe me – it’s worth it!

Coming-up next time:  I’m going to finish out the Summer with a few more Case Studies. I’ve heard from you that these are really valuable and I’m excited to share more client experiences. Next time I’m going to write about a client who THOUGHT that found the perfect gig, only to find their professional engagement dwindled after the first month! Yikes!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

Tom Perry's Signature

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