Job Hunting? Try Shooting For The Moon

Dear J.T. & Dale: A contract house recently contacted me regarding a job opportunity, having found my resume on the Internet. They sent me for an interview, which went great, and the interviewer told me I would be contacted within three days by the contract house. Five days later I called the contract house and was told the interviewer was not responding to them. I have since called back repeatedly. (They did say on one call that I was one of three finalists.) Finally, I tried to contact the interviewer myself. She told me to go through the contract house and not call her directly. Is this how business is done? — Fergie

Dale: The speed of business is increasing, as is the speed of communication, but the speed of hiring decisions seems to only get slower. That’s because companies have become more reluctant to add staff, while the managers doing the hiring are ever more overworked.

J.T.: Further, a downside of working with a contracting company — which is another name for a staffing company or recruiting firm — is that there’s an extra layer of communication. I know you’re eager to get working, but going around the recruiter and calling the company directly is a surefire way to NOT get hired. Recruiters don’t appreciate talent circumventing them, and the hiring manager was right to direct you back to them, most likely reporting the incident. So, now all you can do is be persistent but not pushy, making “touching base” calls to the recruiter every few days, probably ending up in their voice mail, unless they have something to report. Is the system right or fair? No, but remember that recruiters are working on lots of jobs.

Dale: Here’s where you absolutely need to be pushy: with yourself. You can’t pause in your search — keep pushing. Never fall into the trap of feeling that you’re perfect for the job and so you’ll wait and see what happens. Never. If they say, “We’ll call you next week with an offer,” do not stop searching for other openings. That’s because there’s a sizable chance that the decision will get delayed indefinitely, the position put on hold … whatever. The only way to put pressure on a hiring decision is to be able to call and say, “I have another offer, but I wanted to talk to you before deciding.” That’s good pushy. Never forget that when it comes to landing a great job, there are three possibilities — the long shot, the extra-long shot and the moon shot. Never stop shooting.

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