Twists and Turns: The Final Outcome of Undercover Job Search
Since my last post, the world has changed significantly. Pre COVID19, I had just finished writing two Undercover Job Search posts that I've combined here. When we're on the other side of this very serious moment (yes, there will be the other side) most of the information in this job search series will certainly apply.
At last blog post (Part 3), I was on my way to a video interview for a position at Superjobs (fictional name of a very real company). This interview was for a different job than the one to which I’d originally applied (see Part 3) at the same company.
Don’t remember what happened? You can follow the job search from the beginning below or jump in anywhere you left off.
Part 1 answers the question, Should I apply? Also known as - Interpreting the Job Description.
Part 2 answers the question, do I have The Right Equipment (resume + cover letter) in order to apply?
Was the interviewer blowing me off?
I was all set for the Zoom interview until it got postponed - first one, then two, then three times. If my interviewer hadn’t given plenty of notice accompanied by polite and sincere email apologies, I would have dropped the whole thing. But, his cancellations always came with an immediate date, time, and calendar invitation to reschedule, so I hung in. I did learn two things right away: 1) They were in no hurry to hire, and 2) My contact’s level of consideration and tone of communication indicated that this company had a culture I could like. I was curious, what did I have to lose?
By the time the day of the Zoom interview arrived, I’d already prepared several times.
If you’re unfamiliar with Zoom it’s a video conferencing platform similar to Skype. In my opinion, easier and more reliable. I use it for all my remote clients (no, I don’t get anything from them for saying this, but here’s a link.)
My preparation look like this:
A video first interview is similar to the phone version. But, because this interview was for a career coach, not a resume writer, the most important preparation for me included: formulating substantive questions to ask; articulating my specific coaching expertise (not just experience but demonstrated coaching success) and getting comfortable with how I might handle specific questions from him.
When preparing to ask during an initial interview, think like this:
Imagine doing the job based on the information from the job description plus any related experiences you have. Which are the key things you don’t know yet but would need to know to be able to perform successfully? Write those questions down. Prioritize them according to what is appropriate for a first interview at that job level (entry, middle, senior). Rule of thumb, unless they bring it up, NOT money, perks, or hours.
Your questions should show that you’ve done your research well enough to be able ask a level of question that builds upon your research into the job. For example, since the team supporting each client at Superjobs worked digitally and simultaneously, I wondered who, if anyone, was the hub. And, what did communication between them look like? What did clients care about most in this process? I was also curious about the typical problems people in this position encountered as compared to a more traditional coach/client interface.
Your first impression:
It’s a video interview, so make sure your system is working well, test your camera, the sound and the lighting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on calls where the person doesn’t realize that there’s a super messy shelf (or worse) in camera view. And all the same advice for phone interviews is true here too…water, dress well, take notes, no background noise or interruptions, etc.
If you're new to video interviews, practice making “eye contact” using a rehearsal call.
FINALLY! Outcome #1
The interviewer started out describing the big picture. Short version: it was a start-up and just recently purchased by a big (BIG) company with global objectives, so my interviewer’s role had been refocused on finding coaches in other parts of the world and less in the U.S. - hence the rescheduling. He asked great questions about my “sweet spots” and where I fit in. I was able to talk about alignment with their model, using examples of my past experience working with similar type teams, though in different settings. I could see that my prepared and spontaneous questions landed well because they launched meaty conversation.
Straight up, he thought I’d be a terrific fi. And, as I suspected, they weren't hiring at the moment and apparently have a low turn-over rate (another sign of a healthy organization). He asked if he could contact me when the next space opened up. Of course!
TURNING POINT- Outcome #2
I was at a crucial moment, one that many job searchers experience- choosing how to frame a process that doesn't result in the outcome they most wanted. This is where resilience kicks in. Disappointed, yes, but can you see other outcomes from the process. Do you genuinely value them? What possibilities does doing that open for you?
So much of the Superjobs process was positive. I focused on what I learned and where I felt successful, connected to what I have to offer and confident (a huge benefit of the right kind of preparation). I had top-notch presentation materials, and the benefit of recent practice, too. Tapping into the momentum from all that, I applied to three more positions.
A GREAT SIDE GIG - Outcome #3
I landed a phone interview with each job to which I applied. I clicked with one of them, the owner of an executive job search firm, who offered me a remote role on the spot! I'm now "ghostwriting" executive resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters for her in addition to working with my own private clients through Move Into Change.
🕵️♀️ Preparation - the right kind - is key to building the effective materials, interview skills, and confidence that keep you buoyant during the process and will land you a role you want.
🕵️♀️ Find and place value on the "small wins" and positive moments in your job search. Implement other ways to build your resilience (more about this in future posts).
🕵️♀️ You've Got This!