…It’s what everyone is missing.
Jobsearch: now a household presence
Have you noticed that “the jobsearch” now has a place in (probably) every household in America? Yes, this is conjecture, but I propose that it highly likely that in every household in America there is someone who is:
- Looking for a job
- Concerned s/he may soon be looking for a job
- Has a sibling, son or daughter, spouse or roommate
- Knows someone…
…who is looking for a job.
I surmise that “the jobsearch” is now a common topic of conversation and that it will continue to be a topic. It doesn’t matter that the media (to their shame) feed us a continuous diet of how great everything is in our economy. I would venture that most Americans are not satisfied with their personal economic recovery following the Great Recession.
Jobsearch is an ever-present reality
…and it can make holidays and other family gatherings a challenge.
Are you familiar with these questions?
- Any luck with your jobsearch?
- How’s the jobsearch coming?
- Any news on the jobsearch?
The only thing that seems to help is that today, it would be unusual if someone were the only person at a gathering that is actively engaged in a jobsearch.
I believe the truth is that we are, by and large, not at all better off today than in 2006 or 2007. People are scrambling and stretching to make ends meet. Parents are finding creative ways to care for their families and “the new norm” isn’t better.
Better than what?
Better than approximately 10 years ago before the Great Recession. Better than before technology got away from us and decreased the available jobs faster than new jobs and training became available.
People may be employed, but their situation requires them to continue their search and try to find something better. That “something better” may include a job with better pay, a better culture, a better commute, and (hopefully) less stress.
That said, “the new norm” mandates that every person who needs an income must constantly monitor their jobsearch prospects, even if they are currently working.
So here we are:
Jobsearch is commonplace and has become something we do almost every day. Missing one critical success factor can cost months and months of unemployment and financial loss.
Jobsearch has come a long way!
I remember when technologies first flooded the hiring market. The first Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were terrible…for both jobseekers and hiring professionals alike!
One jobseeker realized how important “key words” were in getting through the filters and decided to add hundreds of key words to his cover letter and resume by changing the font color to a white font. That way the cover would “look” okay, and he would have enough keywords to get him through the filters—at least that was his logic.
Soon, jobseekers were finding ways to get through some of the filters, but struggled as they realized that there were other ATS filters that seemed to shut them out. Very frustrating.
I watched with great respect as jobseekers helped each other by pulling together their observations and carefully scrutinizing what worked and what didn’t. The internet became a huge database of helpful information. Jobseekers sharpened their skills and helped each other to become savvy seekers.
We are now at the time when jobsearch is a continuous activity, regardless of a person’s employment situation. And it is time to fine-tune the continuous job search process.
Critical jobsearch factors
In the last blog I wrote about the importance of networking and that the preparation for a networking meeting is significantly different that a job interview.
The point is that “PAIN” is a driver for businesses to hire someone who can help. If the jobseeker doesn’t know the pain that the company is in, then it will be a challenge to present themselves as a viable “pain-reliever.” You can read more about that here.
Pain isn’t the only factor. It is a “critical” factor, but as a stand-alone, it won’t land a job offer.
The missing piece:
…and this is when companies begin the hiring process.
The missing piece is: NEED.
Huh? NEED? Yes.
When pain meets need — companies hire.
To be a bit more accurate: It’s when perceived pain meets perceived need that hiring takes place.
Consider the pain of a mild toothache. With a little bit of pain, most people might likely wait a day or two before they call the dentist for an appointment. There’s pain, but “need” takes a back seat. If and when the pain escalates —that’s when “need” kicks in.
Jobseekers understand this principal very well. They begin their jobsearch with a lot of pain. Pain from being laid off. Pain from embarrassment. Many jobseekers feel ashamed. Neither embarrassment or shame is valid. At least, from my perspective, I’ve never met a jobseeker who wanted to be unemployed. (Although many were glad to get out of a toxic environment.) Regardless, there is a lot of pain. “Need” can come quickly as financial pressure increases. There is both pain and need.
There is a big difference in between the perspective of the jobseeker and the employer’s perspective. Many jobseekers research a company, talk to several people and identify problems in the hiring company. They know what will help the business and they believe that they can make a difference. This is all fine and good. Further, it may be completely true.
The challenge is this: First, the “perceived pain” has to be in the eyes of the decision maker …not the jobseeker. Then there is a perceived pain, which again, must be from the perspective of the decision maker.
A jobseeker and decision maker may both agree on the perceived pain, and disagree on what is needed to relieve it. The opposite is true as well. The jobseeker and decision maker may agree on a solution that fills a need. However, their opinions may not be aligned with regard to the pain that is being felt. Neither of these situations will likely bring a job offer.
You probably know the end result when this mis-alignment happens. You’ve heard it before and for a variety of reasons. It goes like this:
Thank you for your interest…we have decided to move forward with someone who better fits our (wait for it)…NEEDS!
Again: When perceived pain meets perceived need THEN hiring takes place.
Application to Networking and Interviewing
This should open up a host of questions during networking and interviewing conversations so that jobseekers can learn the two parts of the equation to getting hired: perceived pain and perceived need.
The jobseeker can clearly and succinctly demonstrate, through brief stories of their past, how they can bring value to the company.
Master these jobseeker skills to differentiate yourself, and stay ahead of the curve.