Make Getting the Next Interview Your Goal

by on January 25, 2012

Make Getting the Next Interview Your Goal

Ask job seekers what their goal is in terms of their employment search most of them will tell you that it is “to get a job”.  While that certainly is the intent of the end result of their job search campaign, one of the early lessons I learned in my Five O’Clock Club career coaching studies is that your goal throughout your campaign is to “get the next interview”. As I continue to work with a growing range of clients I am observing first hand the value of this type of focus.  Job search in and of itself is very stressful and can cause great swings in ones emotions no matter how well their campaign is organized.  However, I find my clients most energized when they have identified a new contact with whom they have the opportunity to discuss their search, or know they have an upcoming interview which may help lead them to an eventual position.

When you stop and think about it this actually makes a lot of sense.  When one finds themselves in job search, in the early stages the only ones who may actually know they’re in search are close family and friends other than the individual in search themselves.  Close family and friends while many times supportive are too close to you and can be emotionally tied to your journey.  As you begin to reach out and first speak to those that don’t know you about your search several things begin to happen.  First, you begin to gain clarity as to how to present yourself both in terms of who you are, what you have done and what you are seeking to do as you go forward.  As you learn to become a better interviewer, you use the exchange as both an opportunity to get and give information.  You learn to be as prepared or more prepared as the one you are interviewing by both having researched some on the topic you are about to speak and by having your questions ready so as to learn what it is that you don’t know and which will help benefit you in your search going forward.  Those that get proficient at the process learn to listen from the perspective of a consultant.  A consultant is always looking to hear what it is that the other person finds to be difficult for them, and seeks an opportunity to show how they are able to help address the problem.  Finally, an individual that has a solution for another and sees an opportunity to help will follow-up with that person offering a proposal of how they may be able to solve their issue.

The predominant tendency many people have while they are in job search is to approach things passively. They may send out many resumes’ to a number of different companies.  They’ll meet someone who says they know a person that may be able to help them and then wait for their contact to set up a meeting with another as opposed to taking the contact information and setting up the meeting themselves.  After a job interview they’ll write a thank you note, but then just sit back and wait on contact from a company as opposed to following up to gain an understanding of where the company is in their search process or if new developments have emerged.  There is a great sense of not wanting to upset the hiring manager or resource with whom you desire to speak from fear of being perceived as a bother.

Yes a focus and strategy of making getting the next interview your goal takes courage.  It does involve a lot of persistency on the part of the job searcher.  However, it certainly keeps one involved as an active participant in their search.   Those who fully commit to this approach learn quickly to talk to as many individuals as possible that may help them in their search.  They’ll take the time to set up meetings with those who may not have a job opening at the current time, but who may be able to provide needed information or guidance as they pursue their search in their field of choice.  They’ll not focus their energies all on one job opening, but look to have several opportunities working for them at the same time.  Above all, they reach the point where they realize it is worse to sit back and wait for something to happen, as opposed to possibly being told they are no longer a candidate for a position and knowing they have made every effort to present what they offer to that position.

Therefore, if you find yourself in job search in 2012, either through your own choice or through circumstances that are not of your choosing, remember finding that next job is the end point to which you are looking to get.  The true goal is to talk to as many people as you can along the way about your search.  And, whether those interviews are just to gain valuable information about the field or type of position you are seeking, to make more people in the profession aware you are in job search or actually to interview for a position itself, you always should be looking to get that next interview.  Making this a regular practice will not only assist you in leading you to your next job, but is advice to continue with once that job is secured and as you move beyond that job and forward with your career.

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