How and with Whom to Get an Interview
Nothing is more important in the interviewing process than face-to-face interviews. All of the preparation, pristine resumes, excellent interviewing skills, a great track record, etc. don't matter unless you can actually get in front of somebody who has "pain." i.e., the need to hire someone. This is where the rubber meets the road.
The kind of in-depth questions and answers you are going to learn in this book won't mean anything unless you can get interviews. Inertia and lack of activity are the two biggest mistakes that most people make when they go look for a job. Fear causes inertia, and not knowing what to do causes lack of activity. An initial interview with just about anybody that really has a need to hire someone, if you are successful, will lead to second, third, and fourth interviews.
Getting a job is a numbers game. Numbers of interviews are crucial to your getting good offers. In the coming market you may very well be able to get multiple offers. If you do your job right, and sell yourself well in enough quality interviews, getting great job offers will not be hard.
You want to sit down and brainstorm all, and I mean all, of the people that you can think of who might be looking for a good employee. Here are some of the people you need to think about calling:
Previous employers, peers, and subordinates.
These are people that you've worked for before moving on to other companies. You may
not even be in contact with these people any more, but they very well might be able to help you. However, I don't recommend going back to work at a company that you have worked for before unless the company has totally changed management or it is a relatively new company.
The bigger your family and extended family, the better off you are. Don't be embarrassed to call these people, even distant relatives, and let them know that you are looking for a job. The stigma of looking for a job or being unemployed is nowhere near as great as it was a generation ago. Let's face it—these people are going to be calling you in a short period of time asking for the same advice or information.
Call your friends; call friends of friends; call friends of friends of friends. Every time you ask somebody if he or she knows of any opportunities, ask if he or she knows of anybody else who might know of some opportunities. You would be amazed at the number of people you will think of that you might call to help you get an interview.
These are little different from friends. They're people you know, but not that well. A study back in the 1970s found that people looking for jobs were more likely to find opportunities from acquaintances than friends. The study concluded that often people make friends with people they work with or who occupy the same world. So when a large organization has a layoff, it is likely that a person's friend will be laid off too. But acquaintances may operate in completely different worlds. People in your church, athletic club, social club, volunteer organizations, and parents of children who were friends with your children are all people you should make aware of your looking for new job. Even acquaintances of your spouse are good.
Most of us know who our business competitors are. If they're in the same business that we are in, we know something about what they do. You may be of greater value to these people than most anyone else you can talk to.
Suppliers and distributors.
These are organizations that currently supply goods and services to your firm or the organizations and people that receive your goods and services. The knowledge you have is probably applicable to these people.
If you are presently employed and your looking for a job is confidential, you don't want to call these people. Don't even think about it if you are employed. It will get back to your employer, and you cannot afford to be discovered and fired. But if your looking for a job is known by all or you are not working, customers are great people to call.
Trade and professional associations.
Some are more active than others, but they are a good source of information.
Alumni associations, fraternity and sorority members.
Even if you haven't kept up with some of these people, it is a great introduction to be able to make a personal connection and ask them if they know of any job openings.
College and university placement offices.
Even if you have been out of school more than a year, it doesn't hurt to find out what firms might be hiring people from your school. Graduate school placement offices often get requests for people with lots of experience.
As employment markets ease and more jobs become available, more hiring organizations come to these. It can hurt to attend them. Don't do this if you presently have a job, as you might be embarrassed if you run into people with whom you work.
Religious, community, and social organizations.
Common values are one of the major criteria that people use in the hiring of others. Fellow church members, community, or social organization members love to try to help each other. Let them know.
Bankers, loan officers, lawyers, CPAs, business brokers, commercial real estate agents.
Anybody you might know who is in the business of helping other businesses in any way often know about what businesses are expanding or what businesses might be coming to town. For instance, attorneys who specialize in business law or certain kinds of legal specialties often know of organizations that are expanding because they represent them or give them advice. The same might be true for venture capital firms, CPAs, and bankers.
Think, think, think! Get with your spouse or coach and come up with other kinds of people that you may know whom you can call.