06 July, 2011

Job Seeker Tip: Don't Be A Stranger (And How Not To Be)

As my regular readers know, a job seeker with a great resume is no match for a job seeker with the right relationships. Competence gets job seekers into a game that relationships win. Every few minutes an employer passes over better-qualified candidates to hire someone they know, someone they like, or someone who was recommended to them by a "social co-signer".

Though helpful, it's not necessary to be a friend of the employer but it is necessary to move out of the stranger category. Why? Here's a fundamental fact of human nature: people don't like to do business with strangers. Employers don't like to hire strangers.

If you are a friend of a friend,  you're no longer a stranger.

My younger job seeking readers - many of them recent college grads seeking their first jobs - have a hard time understanding this fact of human nature and how to exploit it. They think that if they had the highest GPA from the most prestigious school they should get the job.

It only works that way when there's not a non-stranger in the candidate pool. Non-strangers with "B" averages get the jobs over 4.0 candidates all the time.

People won't do business with a stranger if there is a non-stranger available who can provide a reasonably good product or service.

People won't hire strangers if there is a reasonably competent non-stranger available.

Get out of the stranger category and move into the non-stranger category.

Every good salesman knows that his odds of getting the new account greatly increase if he is introduced to the decision maker by a mutual friend (the social co-signer).

Don't let your stubborn refusal to believe in the irrationality of human beings stand in the way of getting the job. Instead of sending resumes to strangers - a low-percentage game - get your social co-signers to introduce you to somebody who can hire you.

Two candidates apply for the same job. One is a stranger, the other is a non-stranger. The stranger has the stronger resume, better experience and glowing references from other strangers.

The non-stranger is introduced to the hiring manager by their mutual friend.

Hiring managers and HR managers will never tell you  this but, in most cases, the non-stranger gets the job.

Stop sending resumes to strangers. Get introduced to your next boss by a social co-signer.

For more info on social co-signers, read my Feb. 28 to March 5 posts.
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