To my regular readers, THANK YOU for your patience while I’ve made the transition back into the world of formal employment. That transition included a move from St. Louis, Mo. to Kansas City (Overland Park), KS — and all that comes with relocation.
Now, some 2 months or so later, I am just beginning to feel as if I’m settling into a routine. My progress with my primary new job is significantly better than the progress in my new residence. Moving from a 6000 sq. foot house to a 1100 sq. ft. townhouse is challenging, indeed. Thus, I still dodge cardboard boxes which hold contents for which I have no space.
It’s a welcomed problem in comparison to the challenges of unemployment, however. And I frequently think of those of you who have not yet found the right career move. You are a big reason I started this blog, and in spite of my busy schedule, I intend to continue it (albeit at a slightly slower pace).
A Hiring Story
In addition to accepting the role of C.E.O. for Life Giving Force Foundation, a fantastic nonprofit dedicated to saving lives by providing clean water solutions in the neediest regions of the world, I am the new Senior Director of Development at Heartland Soccer Association. HSA is also a nonprofit, but one with an entirely different focus.
Within the first few days of employment with HSA, the division manager quit his job. It was his response to 1) my placement within the supervisory hierarchy, and 2) his erroneous belief that I was there to replace him. Or, perhaps, it was a response to my request to him to provide me with a status report for the division. Whatever the reason, I was left with a train wreck.
As it turned out, the development division was bleeding profusely, costing the organization rather than supporting it. The Executive Director knew that “something” wasn’t right (which lead to the creation of my new position), but because the only management that the division manager managed involved wool-pulling rather than actual marketing and sales, I faced a complete overhaul.
The good news: The overhaul and restructuring allowed me to hire an entirely new sales team, and to properly train the existing associates who’d managed to muddle through their jobs, without direction, but also without commission earnings. Frankly, I don’t know why they stuck it out as long as they did!
Because I needed a marketing and sales staff “yesterday,” the hiring process was drastically streamlined. There was no time to post a single ad. But, there was time to do some searching on my own using Linked-In, and to interview referrals.
Lesson: Job opportunities are not necessarily reflected on the job boards.
There are few better feelings in the business world, in my opinion, than that of offering a job to someone.
I’ve written extensively on the subject of “how to get a job.” A few of the candidates interviewing with me clearly learned the Do’s and Don’ts of job search and interviewing tactics in today’s market. Most, however, did not.
The Applicants Who Did Not Get Past Email
The people who wrote cover letters that were too lengthy, including the guy who sent a 6-page cover and a 1-page resume’.
The people who neglected to attach a resume’ to their email. (SO MANY! Seriously?!)
The folks that sounded desperate, especially the lady who wrote, “I’ll do anything that allows me to feed the kids, pay the rent, and get my nails done when needed.” (No joke.)
The Candidates Who Interviewed But Did Not Get Hired
The young woman who had a Master’s degree, intensely heavy black eyeliner, cleavage that was far too visible, and 7 inch heels.
The one-time marketing and sales manager with significant experience who provided 5 reference letters, all type-written (including the references’ signatures) in the same font, on the same paper, using the same sentences.
The charismatic woman who also had the basic KSA’s I sought, but who repeatedly interrupted me during the interview.
The man who won every sales award with his past employer but who failed to bring his resume’ to the interview. “Don’t you have the copy I sent to you in email?” he asked in response to my question, “Do you have a resume’ for me?”
The Candidate Who I Wanted to Hire but Who Gave Me Reason to Choose Someone Else
The man who presented a great resume’, excellent KSA’s, interviewed really well, but who thereafter neglected to send a thank-you note. When I weighed this particular candidate against a similarly qualified candidate, I went with the guy who sent the thank-you note.
The Candidates I Hired Included. . .
The newly graduated young man with no sales experience but with a fantastic personality, excellent communication skills, a professionally prepared resume’, and a willingness to learn.
The woman with the amazing vocabulary and ability to articulate in a way that is truly impressive, who admitted that this was not a life-long career goal but that she would fully commit herself to the job, and who shared a passion for humanitarian concerns.
The man with a minor amount of experience in sales who was currently employed on a landscaping crew in spite of his Master’s degree, to make ends meet while he sought employment in sports marketing, who was dressed for success and clearly did his homework regarding the company.
I’ve said it time and time again: It comes down to the connection you make with your interviewer during the interview. It’s all about relationships. Always.
So long as you get past the initial screening, making sure you do all that is required of you concerning your resume’, cover letter, and any other submission requirements, your KSA’s are ultimately only a minor part of the equation when the hiring authority makes his or her decision.
How I Got My New Job + 1
I intend to write a full article on this topic, but until I do — and because so many of you are asking — here is the short answer.
An old friend found me on Facebook. From the age of 9 to 12, he was my sweetheart at church camp for a week every summer. By the time I was 12, he picked a new girlfriend, Daphne, who clearly was more developed than I was at that age.
Some 30+ years later, just as I was searching for a leadership position with a nonprofit, he was searching for a leader for two of his organizations. After nearly 5 months of correspondence, phone calls, proposals, Board meetings, and emails, the job offers were finally made to me — and I accepted.
The Lesson: Network! Dig deep. Scour your old yearbooks. Send a note to an old friend just to say “hello”, and accept the Friend Request you receive from the kid with whom you went to kindergarten. Connect, connect, connect.
Ya’ just never know.
~Lynda C. Watts