Archive | January, 2010

3 Tough Questions

22 Jan

They are coming.  The questions – the big 3.  The three questions you can’t stand that they always ask.  The questions you hope they don’t ask.  Those questions.  The questions you better own.

What are they?  You tell me.  C’mon, job seeker – you tell me what they are.  If the competition for jobs is greater than ever before and I believe it is – then the candidate (this is you) better be prepared better than EVER.   You gotta prepare.  You have to take the time on these 3 questions.

Meaningful work is hard to find – meaning you better mean it when you prepare.  Your opportunities to present your skills can be few in this market.

The questions are coming.  Why did you leave your last job, by the way?  A new level of empathy exists for the job seeker but you still are going to have to answer this.  Why did you leave?  What did you learn while you were there?  Yes, that is a question too, but it is where the answer to why you left ends up.  You gotta answer why (brief) but I suggest gravitating quickly to something that reveals the perspective you gained.  Potential employers like your acknowledgement of the bigger picture.

The questions are coming and they are individual in their focus.  Here is the exercise – Look at your resume like you are hiring “you.”  What would you ask you?   What would you want to know about you?  Now give you an answer – a great answer that flows.  Practice it.  Say it.  Ask your significant other, spouse, close friend, an HR professional in your world to listen critically.    The HR pro will have no issue listening critically.  One last thing, does it make sense?  Do your references support it?  It has to flow.

We aren’t talking about how I can better develop sociopathic tendencies during my career transition to allow me to not flinch mid-interview.  After all, the sociopath always gets the job – they just don’t keep it.  I am simply saying, do your answers flow?  Are you properly framing the discussion?  You control their interpretation.

It isn’t just the words either – it is how you say them.  Your abrasive tone that exists because of your bitterness needs to be harnessed.  You gotta deal with that crap and the interviewer does not care about ALL THAT.  This is not a time to take a shot at their hiring process either – you can resent it, just don’t express it in any way.

The questions depend on you, your career history and where you worked, how long you were there, what will you wear, the title that you had, the location that was bad, the travel you’ll accept, the hours you’ll work, the boss was a jerk – the questions, they lurk.

I don’t really know why I am rhyming – the job search is certainly about timing – maybe I am bored with my post – it is longer than most  – yes, the questions will vary and I don’t mean to be arbitrary – so take this to heart and here’s a good place to start – with one that will definitely be asked by more than a few – TELL ME, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?



15 Jan

I attended a meeting last Monday night with 169 other men.  A meeting at my church focused on being a better Dad to daughters.  Record attendance for the “Pursuit” series, a series of meetings focused on how we can  “do life” better.  Along with the attendance, record puzzled looks, record note taking, and record roundtable discussion.

I came away from this meeting somewhat scared, maybe overwhelmed (I only have a 3 and 7 year old) yet thinking “what an awesome, incredible responsibility I have as a Dad.”   Huge responsibility and fortunately still time to focus on intentionality in parenting as we seek to raise two ladies to contribute to society.

This wasn’t men telling men how to manage their daughters – this was mostly heartfelt content and insight supplied by daughters – the experts.  Here we were – a group of individuals that are supposed to have all the answers, hearing the answers from ones like our own and wow – did it make for a quiet room.   When do they get a cell phone?  I still don’t know that but I will text you between getting their ears pierced and their first date.

A meeting series entitled “You Have What It Takes”.  Right.  Thanks for the manufactured optimism to offset my ingrained cynicism.  Hey, maybe I do have what it takes and if I don’t maybe I can steal yours for a moment.  Can I?  Yes, unless I am holed up in my basement, my job search cockpit.  What I am saying is the content was invaluable but the sharing with others completely enhanced the content.

Mr. Unemployed or Ms. Unemployed, I am writing to you.  You need a roundtable filled with a few of your peers.  You need to be quiet and listen like you have never listened before yet you also need to speak up.  Do you have a safe roundtable in your life where you can pull up a chair?  You have something to contribute even if you think you don’t.  You do.

Perspective, affirmation, reassurance – all the intangibles we rarely, if ever admit we need and then some – that you only gain from getting out there and mixing it up with others in a similar situation.   By the way, we aren’t talking a bitch session – we are talking about a finding solutions together session.

Plenty of information out there to consume, take in and process but how about this.  What about the discussion?  I don’t mean you need to sign-up for more webinars rich in content – I am talking about showing up so your fellow man and woman can pull that rich content out of you.  I am convinced there is a wannabe thought leader inside all of us if we just let it out.  You have a sphere of influence.  They need influenced – so go activate that sphere.  They need your thoughts, they need your perspective.

Find some people to manufacture some optimism with right now.  Do this job search better with others.

(I put this into practice yesterday with a group of men in career transition and in the next blog post – I will share my observations.)

%d bloggers like this: