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Friday, February 23, 2007
When in Doubt – Ask!
Is your resume working for you? Are you getting a good stream of first interviews? Great! Now, for the next question—are you getting second interviews? Many job candidates will go through a first interview (usually a telephone interview) and be left with the impression that they are going to be handed on up the ladder for a second interview. The telephone interviewer said all the right things, was positive about your background, and said you had the qualifications they were seeking. You are now all excited because it looks promising.

A week passes. Nothing happens. Ten days – still no word. What do you do? Hopefully, you are following up with the person who called you. You DID get that person’s name, email, and telephone number, right? Get in touch and follow up to find out where they are in the hiring process. The hiring process is really a Crock Pot issue but most job seekers want it to be a microwave affair. It takes a lot longer than you think to hire a qualified candidate, especially someone at the executive level.

The same goes for recruiters. In over thirteen years in business, I’ve never heard a recruiter tell a job seeker anything OTHER than “You have a great background” after receiving the resume. It’s akin to “Would you like fries with that?” It has no true intent behind it so don’t take it that way. Some recruiters even say they are going to forward your resume on to an employer but then drop off the face of the earth. If a recruiter has promised to pass on the resume to an employer, stay in contact with that recruiter. You’ll know soon enough if he was fibbing just to make you feel good.

Okay, let’s say you make it through to an in-person interview and that goes well. You are told you are a contender. What do you do then? Same thing – you stay in touch with the person with whom you interviewed. If you are told you didn’t make the cut, ask some questions:

What part of my experience did not fit your requirements?
Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my candidacy for other prospective employers?
Was there anyway I could improve my personal presentation?
Can you tell me where I’m weak in either my experience or education?
Was there a particular skill set that you were seeking that I did not have?

All these questions are non-threatening, informational questions. Hiring managers usually won’t mind answering these types of questions, especially if you made a connection in the interviewing process with them. They realize you want to improve and they can provide feedback to help you. People like to help other people.

If you are working through a recruiter, feel free to ask him/her these questions after an interview that didn’t morph into a position. The recruiter only gets paid if he can place you. If you are messing up in an interview or don’t have a particular skill, he helps himself by helping you correct yourself or your approach.
Ask questions. The interviewing process is not an interrogation process. You get to participate!

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