A Systems Approach To Interviewing

Part 1 – The Interview Process is Transactional Not Personal

Often clients seek my coaching services for interview help, expressing one of three common complaints: the volume of responses to their resume submissions is lower than their expectations, the process is taking is longer than they expected, or they aren't offered jobs at the volume or rate that meets their expectations.

My approach in any of these situations is to be clinical in attitude and systematize the entire process – starting with taking the emotion out of the interview process. This helps to manage expectations and makes using a system approach to job searching much more relaxed.

Let’s begin with a “Come to (Insert your Deity of Choice here)” on the misalignment between reality vs. expectations.   

With that as the disclaimer, this is the real part of our conversation. Is your search affected by one or a combination of:

1.    An inaccurate assessment of your market value, or an over-inflated sense of self-importance   

Nothing will deflate your ego faster than job hunting if you aren't 100% about your real strengths and abilities. Getting a call for an interview is not a validation of your self-worth; the search is transactional and strictly business. Seek your validation from the things that matter, like your family and friends, or your dog. Yes, that means you must have a life outside The Search.

2.    The on-demand economy makes you think you can have everything RIGHT NOW

A one-click application system that sends a resume doesn’t equate to an immediate response. It is effortless to submit a resume these days, and one can carpet bomb their resume across a variety of industries in a matter of minutes. While difficult to accept, your timing and employment needs may be your number one priority, but it likely isn’t the company’s.  Patience isn’t just a virtue; it's a downright necessity when it comes to this process.

And the higher up the corporate food chain, or more competitive the position, the longer the process may take.

3.    A self-imposed sense of urgency because your current job sucks

Are you desperate? No one likes desperate. In the job hunt, it puts all kinds of pressure on the process and shows through in ways you may not even realize. Plus if you do get an offer, this urgency will either directly or subconsciously impact your decision making on the right job, or in negotiating the package you deserve.

4.    Lack of awareness of the supply/demand of the job market, and your position in it

When I ask my clients – ‘How many of you out there are doing the same thing relative to the number of positions available?’,  most don’t know. We must be systematic in our approach and fully honest with ourselves. This is transactional, not personal, remember? If you are more of a commodity than a specialist in a niche area, you have lots of competition, so your experience may not have anything to do with your resume, or you. Perhaps you just aren’t getting noticed.

One of my clients was seeking a C-level position in a very elite and highly technical industry. He was initially frustrated at how long it was taking to get a single response to his resume submittals. When I asked how many possible C-level position openings there were within his target industry, he said just a handful. I replied that given that small number of opportunities for such a niche area, I would a) expect it to take a long time to find a position and b) these positions would likely be filled by those networked into the target companies.

I was surprised at just how surprised he was to hear this. 

At least this candidate was already working in his target industry, elite as it may be. If you are aiming to move into a sector that is new to you, your search could take longer simply for that one fact.

Bottom line: know the size of your pool and who is in it. Do your homework, understand your industry, familiarize yourself with your competition.  And do not ever discount the power that can come with smart networking.

Coming up, I will discuss a systematic approach to reviewing, identifying problems, and providing solutions to the four stages of the interview process.