How Rob Got His Dream Job

Rob and family

Rob and family

I had the great privilege of having a client come back and visit me while he was on a vacation in Madison. He wanted to share his joy of a new baby and his appreciation for the role I played in helping both he and his wife land wonderful jobs in St. Louis.

Rob was working as an organizer for a labor union when we met.  He really enjoyed his role in educating union leadership, researching and writing content for the website, building and managing social media, and creating training and marketing materials.  What he didn’t like so much, was the constant travel and long hours.  

In 2011, Rob’s position required his involvement in demonstrations regarding the governor’s; “Budget Repair Bill”, which impacted collective bargaining agreements.  After 5 months of being embroiled in the protests, Rob was ready for a change of pace.  He has a high value for harmony and strives to build community and collaboration wherever he goes. Spending Feb-June with crowds of frustrated angry people was both exhausting and disheartening for him.  He decided it was time to update his resume and begin looking for a new job, preferably in St. Louis, Missouri.       

He attended both of my mini-courses; “Rock Your Resume” and “Ignite Your Interview” and had hired me to help him find a new position.  We went through the process of identifying what work tasks he did best and enjoyed most and emphasized those on his resume, his Linked In profile and in his correspondence with potential employers.  Next, I asked Rob to write out what his dream job would be. 

Rob’s ideal work needed to offer:   innovation, autonomy, collaboration, research, writing, teaching/training, advocating and community building.  One of the things we worked on was structuring questions he could ask in interviews to help him learn more about the work culture and management style to determine if the jobs he was applying for might be a fit to his “ideal work”.  It took a few months of networking and using Linked In contacts, conducting informational interviews and searching job listings in all the higher ed. institutions in the St. Louis area, but Rob found a great job as did his wife!  

 This month he is celebrating two years being in a job he loves in one of Missouri’s prestigious universities. His work not only combines his education and experience, but it is in alignment with his core values and fits his lifestyle, enabling him to spend more time with his growing family.  Rob’s wife, Laura, also attended the Rock your Resume class and was the first one to obtain work in the St. Louis area.  She is very happy in her job in higher education and will soon be starting classes towards a masters degree.

If you are unhappy in the work you’re in, consider a change.  It is possible to have fulfilling, satisfying, purposeful work!  Whether you do it with a coach, a book, or a friend, please explore your possibilities for a brighter, more fulfilling work life!  


Answering the Toughest Interview Questions

In preparing for a mini-course I’ve been teaching; “Ignite Your Interview” I came across some terrific “inside information” from professional recruiter Skip Freeman. He suggests that the most challenging questions for candidates are:  “What questions do you have?” And “What is your salary expectation?” From my own experience in the staffing industry I am inclined to agree with him.  Let’s look at the first one.

When the interview is about finished, the typical interviewee is relieved and ready to make an exit.  Not surprising then that many candidates respond to the interviewers; “Do you have any questions you’d like to ask?” by saying something like, “no, I think I got a good overview of the position, thanks.”  Skip refers to this as the “kiss of death” for your candidacy.  What the interviewer wants to hear is why you should be hired.  You want to finish the interview expressing your value, your intelligence, and your ability to assert yourself.  Here’s the answer Skip suggests:

“Mr./Ms. Hiring Manager, let’s assume for a moment that I am your candidate of choice and that I become your next (position for which you are applying). It is one year from now. You look back over the past year and say, ‘I made a good hire.’ What is it that I would have had to have done over the year for you to be able to say that?”

Talk about getting inside info!  Not only have you impressed the interviewer with your question, you now have a better idea of what the job entails and the employer’s performance expectations.  If you aren’t comfortable with the above question, here are a few others you may find beneficial to ask:

  1. In six months, what would the successful candidate have accomplished?”
  2. What is the most important and pressing problem for the new hire to tackle?
  3. What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this job?
  4. I noticed on the company website that your firm’s mission is to ___________. How do you see the successful candidate contributing to that mission?
  5. How does this department affect the company’s profit?
  6. How would you describe the organization’s culture and personality?
  7. How are risk taking and creativity rewarded?
  8. How does the company recognize outstanding employees?

Now let’s look at how to answer the second question; “What is your salary expectation?” If your inclination is to name a salary that your want, stifle yourself!  Here is the answer Mr. Freeman recommends to his clients: “I am very interested in this opportunity.  If I am your candidate of choice and, in turn, you are my company of choice, then I know the salary will be more than fair.”

In this instance, you have let the interviewer know that salary isn’t the deciding issue on whether or not you’d accept the position.

It is also important to know what the average salary range is for the position.  Often the salary is not divulged in the job listing and it is up to you to do the research.  Check out and identify the job title, ex:  Sales Manager.  See if the description is a match to the position you are applying for and then scroll down to “Wages and Employment Trends”.  The Dept. of Labor provides the median national wages and employment outlook.  You can find out the local median wage by plugging in your state and then county or city.  Armed with this data, you can also answer the salary question by saying:  “the average salary range for this position is ______, I would entertain an offer in this range. Keep in mind the DOL data is usually a year or so old so adjust the rates accordingly. The salary information is critical to know if you are offered the position and chose to negotiate your terms of acceptance.

Bottom line for going into interviews is: Be Prepared!  Research the industry, the organization, the employment outlook and the nature of the job itself.  Use your social media contacts and network to identify and connect to employees in the company you are considering and do some informational interviewing.

May you land the job you want!



Interviewing Tips to Get the Perfect Job

Did you know that 85% of communication is NOT the words you speak?

The best interviewing tip I give people is to learn good body language and practice it.

In this video, I tell 6 easy to remember interviewing tips that can make your job interview a huge success.