19 November, 2013

Why Popular, Well-Connected Job Seekers Remain Unemployed (And What They Need to Do About It)

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

If you're a job seeker, a lot of people are trying to make money from your misery which is why it's difficult to get the truth about why sending out thousands of resumes and completing thousands of online applications hasn't landed you a job. The problem is, there's no money in telling you the truth: that what you've been doing is what I call a low percentage job seeking play. 

And what you've been doing isn't working so it's time for you to realize that of you keep doing what you're doing you'll keep getting the same results you've been getting. 

And Albert Einstein says you're insane.

Stop being insane. Abandon your low percentage strategy and adopt the time-tested, high percentage job seeking strategy of getting somebody you already know to introduce you to your next boss. 

Stop believing the lies of people who perpetuate the low percentage job seeking strategy because it's the one that enables them to make money from your misery - people who charge you a fee for re-writing your resume or teaching you how to interview or people who sell you job "leads". 

Don't double down on what hasn't worked and has never worked very well. Change strategies. I'll tell you how to do it and I won't charge you a dime. I'm not trying to monetize your misery. I just want to get you to stop doing what hasn't worked and start doing what has worked for millions of people. Get somebody you already know to arrange an introduction with somebody who can hire you.

I've often said that your first clue you aren't going to get a job is that you have to fill out an application, send in a resume and interview for that job. Yes, people sometimes get jobs that way but nearly 100% or white collar jobs are filled by somebody whose name was given to the employer by a mutual friend.

When I do job seeker workshops I explain this through anecdotes and stories that illustrate what I mean but here's a fact that, when "backward-engineered" and properly analyzed, shows you why you should stop sending resumes to strangers and start spending that time talking to your friends, your former co-workers, your former suppliers, people you went to school with, people you serve on a board with, people whose kids know your kids, etc. 

Why do experienced, well-connected, popular people remain unemployed? Yes, ageism is certainly real but that's not where I want to go right now. I want to tell you something that you can actually use to get a job and here it is: if you're still unemployed after sending thousands of resumes in spite of your popularity and connections and professional experience my 20 years of headhunting experience suggests it's probably because the people who could introduce you to somebody who can hire you have no idea what your skills are and what you did in your last job, therefore, they have no idea how to recognize an employer who would be able to hire you - even though they may know such an employer. 

In 20 years of headhunting I've never seen a client hire a total stranger if a suitable non-stranger was available. Not once. I've been paid ridiculous sums of money to "find" candidates who were already professionally connected to the client. And yes, my clients expected me to find them people the couldn't find by running an ad or other conventional job search means but in 20 years of working with clients not once have any of my clients ever hired a stranger if a suitable non-stranger was available. So I actually got paid for bringing clients people they already knew. I actually got paid for giving them a "suitable" non-stranger, not the best candidate I found. 

I'm sure that somewhere there is a company that actually hired a total stranger for a white collar job but I have never seen it happen. 

Your odds of getting hired go way up if you simply get out of the "stranger" category and into the non-stranger category because, regardless what they say, employers are usually not meritocratic in their hiring. In 2 decades of headhunting, clients have never hired the best candidate I brought them unless they discovered they were already networked to him in some way. I've made a lot of big fees off the second-best or the third-best candidate because those "suitable" candidates were in the non-stranger category.

I'll tell you how to do it in my next post. 

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