Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Job Search: Follow Up

To follow up on the last post, I just read in the Career Journal of the Wall Street Journal that they too recommend keeping active with your job hunt during the holiday season. A few things the article mentioned was that hiring managers do like to find candidates through their referral network, and that the holidays can be a great time to participate in annual holiday events. Also, fiscal year budgets often coincide with the calendar year, and managers are eager to fill head count positions that are open. Many times executives are looking at the upcoming year's budget, and are interviewing in anticipation of hiring at the beginning of the new year. These are opportunities for you to get noticed now--and not after the holidays. Lastly, with the holidays upon everyone, many hiring managers hope to stay near home. This gives you an advantage to catch them at their desks and often with time to schedule an impromptu interview.

Keep at it--no time like now!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Take Advantage of the Holidays for Your Job Hunt

Okay, as a former sales manager, I have to admit that one of my favorite movies is Glengarry Glen Ross. You may think I'm callous liking it, but it does show a lot of the personalities that work in the sales world, and some of the ones that are successful. Being a bit jaded, Alec Baldwin's sales speech wasn't that shocking to me. Maybe I was a tough manager.

The best salesperson in that group was Al Pacino's character, Ricky Roma, who when the power went down at the office went with his roll of quarters to the nearest phone booth and kept calling away. The other salesmen were griping about how they couldn't make calls, and therefore couldn't work. It's not surprising that Al Pacino's salesman outperformed them all, everytime. I've seen both types of salespeople and recruiters, and have never been surprised when the innovative person is more successful.

Having worked in an office with other salespeople, I often heard excuses why they couldn't sell at various times. Everyone always said that the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's was the worst times to be trying to sell services. They are also the easiest time to get distracted by holiday shopping, family gatherings and the related hub-bub.

But if you are smart, and really want to pursue a new job opportunity or new client, the holidays can be a great time to connect with people. You may be able to carve out a little extra time to search job postings. You may also be able to contact people in your network to wish them well during the holidays--and ask about any opportunities they have heard of. And, you may be one of the few people that responds to a posting--since they other job hunters are too busy with the holidays!

So, don't look for excuses why this is a bad time to be looking for a job. Look at it as a good time to make some solid inroads in your job search--while spreading holiday cheer!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Career Advice: How you act in an interview

A few months ago I interviewed a gentleman for a sales position I was working on. I interview all of my candidates in person before I send them along to my clients. There is a very good reason for this. To make sure I'm representing them in their true light, and to make sure there aren't any personality problems I need to be aware of.

Case in point. This gentleman who has been selling in the wine industry for the last 15 years is very qualified for many sales positions. And I'm sure he would interview very well with many male hiring managers. He might not do so well with female interviewers. Why? The entire time I was interviewing him he was staring at my chest. I asked my husband if my outfit was too revealing, and he said "Possibly, in a black burka sort of way." Having worn a conservative, long sleeved black sweater that day, I didn't think I was calling attention to my anatomy.

While interviewing he brought up that he has a very active social life and that he has been divorced for the last three years. While these things come up in interviews, I felt the conversation was moving into personal waters.

While trying to direct his attention back to my face, let alone my eyes, I started to realize that if he's trying to find his next job, he might need to work on his interpersonal skills a little. Feeling like I needed a shower after the leering looks, I am now questioning what type of sales position would be best for him. Probably one dealing with male winemakers and male general managers.

So when you are interviewing, keep your demeanor professional and think about how you come off to the interviewer. We're paying attention, and may limit the opportunities we present based on how our interview went.