Your Next Great Job is Hiding in Plain Sight

When seeking a new job, too many people take an ineffective approach, relying more on hope and prayer than sound strategy. Russ Riendeau of New Frontier Search Group offers proven techniques to secure more and better interviews. Let’s take a closer look as recruiters from Hightech Partners, IQTalent Partners, Connor | Caitlin and Kensington International weigh in.

August 1, 2019 – How bad to you want to find a new job or new career? Really, how serious, committed, and driven are you to fully engage in this exercise? How many hours per week will you commit to making this happen? On a scale of one to 10, 10 being as committed as can be, where are you? Will your actions prove the number you say you are?

Let’s assume you are not living the dream with your current job and definitely want to make a change. Or perhaps you got laid-off, right-sized, fired, terminated or quit because the big bosses were going to let you go anyway. In all cases, you want to get back working and, more importantly, continue to get that paycheck.

Despite all the different avenues you might take to landing a new role, most of the more common approaches tend to fall flat, and prospects more often than not come away with zero interviews, says Russ Riendeau, senior partner of New Frontier Search Group.

Too many approaches are not calculated enough for you to research and customize your interview approach, said Mr. Riendeau. “Instead, they are built on the hope, prayers and numbers game to try and find a great job,” he said. “This approach is not strategic enough because the data and urgency are long gone from the employer and you have too many gatekeepers and guards to pass through to get noticed. So you don’t get noticed and you got more frustrated, angry and discouraged. And the headhunters you may have called can’t convince their clients to pay them a fee to hire you because you are not able to present a compelling value proposition for why you are qualified for that job.”

“As a longtime executive search professional, my world has been a straight commission world, since 1985,” said Mr. Riendeau. “No salary, no guarantees. I get paid only when I add value to my clients by introducing top talent that they hire. Over 120,000 interviews and more than 6,000 searches have shown me the most productive, successful approaches to securing the top jobs in good and bad economies.”

Finding Your Dream Job

In this brand new episode of ‘Talent Talks,’ our host Mike Wasulko is joined alongside Dr. Russ Riendeau, senior partner & chief behavioral scientist at New Frontier Search Company. According to Mr. Riendeau, the dream job we all want is usually in plain sight. Once a person identifies their own wants, skillsets and desires, then they will begin to see particular jobs, companies and industries that fit their dream job. 

“If we can educate candidates to invest more time and energy into their job focus, they will find a role that suits them.” Listen now!

Below is Mr. Riendeau’s list of proven, defined techniques to secure more and better interviews in whatever your field of interest. “But there is one critical catch,” he said. “Tell the truth in your quest. If you lie, embellish, present misleading information or abuse the facts to misrepresent your skills, accomplishments, education, etc., you will be caught as a liar, fired soon after you get hired and then you have an even bigger problem. State your skills, accomplishments and why you are interested in this job/field in a way that demonstrates you did your research and are aware of what you need to be successful.”

Proven Techniques

1. Don’t just apply for every job that looks tasty. Pick an industry that appeals to you, appeals to your interests, your taste for risk, innovation, location, culture, a cause, a mission, technology you like, said Mr. Riendeau. Target markets and companies that have jobs that you can see yourself doing every day for a few years — not 10 years.

2. Examine what your personality and internal drivers are telling you. “What are you drawn to?” asked Mr. Riendeau. “What kind of people do you want to work with? Smart, average, analytical, slick, covert, sensitive, rough around the edges? Do you want to work in an office, in a zoo, in the dirt, in the basement? Do you want to see the sky or see a wall? Do you want to present ideas or evaluate data? Do you want authority or responsibility? Do you want to be the boss or report to the boss?”

3. Once you target some industries or companies how do you find job openings? First, research LinkedIn and look at what employees work there do. What are their prior backgrounds? What did they learn/do/prepare to get hired? Reach out to them and ask if they like working there.

4. Look at their connections and trace back who they know and where those people work. “Maybe you see they changed jobs recently,” said Mr. Riendeau. “What does this tell you? It means there may be an open job at their former employer. Call them! Tailor your resume to look like you are a fit, based on what they looked for in the former employee. Use words, examples and phrases that are aligned with their industry.”

9 Reasons Why This Candidate Declined a Job Offer
Tom Sorensen, a global search veteran, shares the reasons why good candidates are saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” to job offers. It’s a candidate-driven market, he says, and it’s time that businesses reevaluate their recruitment practices or risk falling behind in the war for talent. Here is some further reading.

5. Look up a company of interest leadership page. Where did these leaders work before? Maybe there are jobs open over at that company? Maybe you can contact that leader and ask for a referral?

6. When you see one of your LinkedIn connections changed jobs and posts it, follow up with their former employer — if you like the company — and apply. The job is still fresh and probably not posted yet.

7. If you do see a job posted that has the company name listed, don’t just send a standard cover letter and your standard resume, as the odds of getting a call are slim to none. “Instead, bypass the website address, bypass the HR department (they won’t know, they won’t care, and if you get the job you won’t care either) and find out who the hiring manager is for the job you see posted,” said Mr. Riendeau. “Now, you send your resume directly to the hiring manager — a resume that is customized to fit the needs that he/she needs because your research helped you profile the right message. And the manager will be impressed you found him/her.”

8. If you do have to send your resume to HR, send the resume to the hiring manager as well, or call that manager before you send the resume to HR. “This approach gives you the leverage to follow up for an interview without HR feeling like you are by-passing them,” said Mr. Riendeau. “HR folks are nice, smart and mean well, but can be a roadblock to your interview chances if you get caught in the mix.”

9. The resume has to show specific examples of how your experience, education and accomplishments tie into the job requirements. Demand a job description before sending your resume. If you can’t see a good job spec, don’t bother chasing that job — it is a waste of your time. Follow leads that allow you enough information to do your research better than your competition.

Related: Why Executives Need Career Transition Support, Even in a Hot Job Market

10. Look again at employee profiles that are in industries/companies you desire. “Call their boss and ask for an interview even if there is not a job opening posted,” said Mr. Riendeau. “Why wait? If you fit a spec, assume companies in this tight labor market are always looking. And the odds of someone quitting are always good in big and small companies.”

11. Upgrade and improve your LinkedIn profile. Headhunters will not call you if your profile is lacking. Make it look professional, add content, add a good photo, add contact info, a good summary, tell the world what you’re great at, show you study your craft and connect with smart people. If you don’t have a good profile, it will destroy your chances of getting a great job offer, as well as not being found.

Become Self Aware

12. Income needs. “We are paid based on our value to the marketplace in a capitalist society,” said Mr. Riendeau. “Are you earning an income that is better than the average in your industry? Are you earning more or less than others your age and with your experience? If you’re a college grad looking for a job, how will you show you’re worth a certain wage? If you’re not earning more than the average person in your field, ask yourself why? And then come to terms with what you are not doing right to earn more money. Become self-aware. Admit it is your responsibility to make changes.” Upgrade your skills. Tweak your commitment to your craft. Read books on your craft, watch videos, study industry association stats.

13. Professional image is critical to success. If you’re obese and not taking care of yourself, the perception of others will be that you are not disciplined, said Mr. Riendeau. If you make good money — enough to afford good insurance and attend a health club — then you should look the part. You should look and sound healthy. If you have crooked teeth and compensate by not smiling or wearing burly beards — get your teeth fixed. “Stop excusing your way out of investing in your professional and personal health,” said Mr. Riendeau. “Yes, this is blunt and personal stuff, but we’re adults and you need to address these issues directly and maturely.”

10 Reasons Why Some Candidates Fail to Land the Job
It is no secret that the job search process has a lot of moving parts. Crafting resumes, practicing your pitch or planning for questions and answers for your interviewer are just a few matters you are responsible for. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook “small” things that can torpedo your candidacy.

14. New college graduates looking for jobs: All the above ideas apply to you as well. You must also find ways to relate your young life’s experiences to mirror the demands of a job. Maturity, responsibility, learning quickly, strong vocabulary, good research on why you want to work in this industry and for this company. Find people you know in that industry and secure referrals, references and insights to the culture of that market. Make the argument that even though you don’t have industry experience, remind the hiring manager that they, too, didn’t have experience at some point and they got hired. Maybe you have the same qualities as they do. Know what your true interests and drivers are in your inner self and show hiring managers how that energy and drive will pay off and is a natural fit.

If you invest in the above career search ideas and in your professional development, you’ll experience success sooner. “If you don’t commit and keep fooling yourself that things will change in your life without committing to self-improvement, you will still find a job somewhere — but it may not be the job you really want,” said Mr. Riendeau. “Business competition is fierce, fast and frenzied. You and I have to invest monthly in keeping our skills sharp, current and relevant, regardless of age, race, gender or demographics.”

Hiring Experts Weigh In

“For the first time in U.S. history, there are more job openings than available workers to fill them (6.7 million vacancies vs six million people unemployed in June 2019),” said Raffaele Jacovelli, managing partner at Hightech Partners. “Not only are there not enough people to fill open positions but the ones unemployed often do not have the right skills to fill these vacancies.”

“This should offer the ideal context for people willing to change jobs, either more in line with their career development plans, or to increase their income,” said Mr. Jacovelli. “The issue though is that often these people are lacking the right skills – both hard and soft – that the new jobs created will require, further fueling the war for talent.”

Related: 6 Ways to Conduct an Effective Executive Job Search

“If you wish to change jobs or boost your career, think first how you can improve your skills – long life learning is the new paradigm – to stay afloat, as 85 percent of the jobs that will be created by 2030 do not exist today,” he added.

“Finding your ideal job or career really means matching your interests and skills with a position where you can thrive,” said Chris Murdock, co-founder and chief sourcing officer at IQTalent Partners. “Stop searching by job title alone. Search based on skills and experiences instead of title and function. With so many companies creating unique titles, searching by skills and experience will help you find roles that you would otherwise exclude. Be proactive and ask questions; learn about a company’s culture before you take the job. It might be your ‘dream job,’ but if it’s a nightmare culture, the job certainly won’t be the right fit.”

“Treat your job search like it’s your job! Create a spreadsheet and keep track of everything,” Mr. Murdock said. “Track the title, company, link to opening, date you applied, people you’ve interacted with, and track all of your progress with notes. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to prioritize your daily/weekly activities. And remember, you’re not getting married to the position. If you think it might be a good opportunity, but once you start working, you realize you still haven’t found your perfect career fit, keep searching! The only way you won’t find that next great opportunity is if you stop looking.”

“Dr. Riendeau’s observations are blunt, to the point, and on the edge of political incorrectness. But moreover, they are accurate and honest,” said Michael Muczyk, managing partner at Connor | Caitlin. “People, including hiring authorities, make a perception of you based on how you present yourself.  That includes initially on paper/screen and then physically. Much of it is in your control. It’s a lot of work, but in your control.  Excuses do not get you the higher paying positions in your industry.”

“I think Russ Riendeau has nailed it,” said Brian Clarke, managing partner at Kensington International. “You just could not be in a better job’s market overall to test the market and your assumptions on what could be the perfect role for you. But – as you explore – especially if you are doing so as an ‘active candidate,’  you have to be deliberate, direct and strategic. It’s like the classic approach to strategic selling – understanding the buyer, the gatekeeper and/or perhaps the coach or technical recommender – if you are networking your way to the position.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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