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Location, Location, Location

In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a time where we were more divided as a nation. Oddly, the job search has also become geographically divided.

It is becoming increasingly common for certain jobs to cluster in large cities within the U.S. You probably noticed it when Amazon picked their new headquarters. The cities that made the list were the usual suspects. And, it’s the same for other big businesses. Many are located on the coasts, in cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

I’m beginning to see a trend of job seekers that are looking to relocate to these large markets. Their goal long term is to create career stability. They assume that being in a big city, they’ll have an easier time finding their next job. This thought process makes sense in today’s professional environment. Many people switch jobs every three to five years. Forty years ago, you would stay at a job until you’d retire, but sadly, this is no longer the case.

The thing that’s a bit odd is this. Many companies are demanding local candidates. You might even notice on some job postings the words, “Local candidates only.” I’ve seen many instances where a candidate has a positive phone screen with human resources. In the last five minutes of the call, the company will realize that the candidate isn’t currently living in their city. They plan to relocate. It is not unusual for a company to end the phone screen and to reject the candidate on location alone. They will say, “We have enough local candidates. We don’t need to consider people from other regions of the country.”

At first blush, many people assume the company is trying to save money on relocation expenses. But, I’m not sure that explains the full situation. Even when a candidate offers to relocate themselves, the companies don’t take the bait. Some hiring managers say that out of town candidates are more risky. The job seeker might not like the new city. But, isn’t everyone risky? I suspect that part of the issue is that it’s logistically more work to hire an out of town candidate. You have to plan in person interviews ahead more. Plane tickets must be booked. Hotel rooms must be reserved. The start date may be further in the future.

The candidate could move themselves first. But, quitting your existing job and moving to a new city where you have no connections is a big risk. The cities I mentioned are quite pricey. They aren’t a great place to be if you’re not going to have a stable paycheck.

I’m not sure what the solution, but, we’re one country. Landing a job in a new city should be easier than it is today. Companies, take more time to consider out of town candidates. Hiring managers, if your recruiter is mysteriously only presenting you with local candidates, find out more.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Cutting the Horn Off the Unicorn

I saw the perfect profile for a recruiter recently. It said, “I am not a ninja / purple squirrel / unicorn hunter, nor someone who hires ‘rock stars.’ I am a strategic and tactical recruiter, meaning I partner with leaders and we hire – at scale, for the niche skills required to make the difference to a business.”

Have you ever heard of this phrase – “purple squirrel”? In the world of the job search, it is a reference to a hiring manager who wants to find the perfect applicant. They’re looking for that once in a lifetime candidate that will bring everything they want to their business and more. The person is often also referred to as a unicorn, a ninja, or a rock star.

The problem is this. This purple squirrel hiring strategy is completely unrealistic. It relies on an environment that no longer exists in 2019.

You may wonder what I mean. Well, think of it this way. The dot com crash happened in 2000. This is around the same time that Monster.com started to be the way companies hired. Other sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor have also come onto the scene, but the process has remained largely the same.

Employers are able to input a large list of criteria and in return, they can find a candidate who has the qualities that they’re looking for. When the job market was terrible, this worked perfectly fine. You could upload a list of, say, thirty skills and get a handful of people who matched.

The issue today is, we’re in the middle of the best job market we’ve seen in fifty years. Unfortunately, many employers haven’t adjusted the way they hire. I have to think this is due in part to one thing. People who graduated from college around 2000 are forty years old now. They are hiring managers. And, for those that age, they’ve never truly experienced a job market where the company wasn’t in control.

They’re stuck on finding those perfect unicorns and it’s showing. The time to fill jobs is taking longer now than it did in the past. Employers are having a harder time finding the perfect person. That’s because job seekers have more choices.

So, what’s a company to do? Stop searching for the perfect candidate. Start looking for great candidates. Look for leaders. Look for motivated, dedicated, smart employees. Because, meeting the criteria on a checklist doesn’t measure how dedicated or excited a candidate may be.

You might be surprised, but a yellow squirrel can get the job done just as well as a purple one – maybe even better. Just because someone has a resume that’s non-traditional doesn’t mean they won’t fit a fit for the job or your organization. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Don’t stick to a checklist only approach. You’ll do yourself, your business, and your candidates a huge favor.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Hiring by Consensus

The job market is the best it has been in 50 years. You’ve heard that on the news. And, companies are struggling to find good candidates. There aren’t as many people available for work as there used to be. In other words, because the market is doing well, companies are hiring more. Because companies are hiring more, job seekers have more options.

The ironic thing is, when a company finds a great candidate that they want to hire, they’re still interviewing that candidate like it’s 2001. The company is putting the candidate through the paces, assuming they’re in control. One of the ways they do this is by hiring by consensus.

In the ‘good old days’ of job seeking, you might have three interviews. The first would be a phone screen with human resources. Then, you would have a phone interview with the hiring manager. Last, you would come in person and meet the hiring manager and a few others in a panel interview.

For many jobs, the days of a straight forward interview process are gone. Many hiring managers haven’t hired new employees in so long that they’re nervous to make the wrong choice. They don’t want it to be their fault if the candidate doesn’t work out.

So, what does the hiring manager do? Unfortunately, they force the candidate to meet everyone they can create a calendar invitation for. Recently, I have seen many, many job openings where the job seeker is interviewed ten to fifteen times for one job. They are interviewed by the boss, HR, the boss’ boss, the boss’ peers, the job seeker’s peers, the job seeker’s future employees, and sometimes even the person who left the job.

Fifteen job interviews doesn’t result in someone unearthing some important piece of information about a candidate. It is a way for the hiring manager to cover themselves in case the person doesn’t work out.

If you are a job seeker and you find yourself being asked to interview repeatedly for one job, you have a decision to make. You can refuse to do so many interviews. If you do this, you can rest assured that you will not receive a job offer. It doesn’t matter that the company is being both unreasonable and disrespectful of your time. It’s their process. If you want to play ball, it has to be by their rules. So, if you do want the job, you’ll have to go through the process.

But, I would take note of this disturbing trend. If you find yourself interviewing with a boss who is putting you through this experience, it is very likely a reflection on them. They may be a weak leader who is unwilling to accept responsibility for their own actions. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person and you may even want to take the job. But, if you find yourself being hired by consensus, pay attention.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Step One

If you’ve interviewed lately, you know the first step of a job interview is a phone screen. After you apply for a job, a recruiter from the company will reach out to you. They’ll ask to setup a time to meet.

In the phone screen, the recruiter will ask predictable questions. They say, “Tell me about yourself.” Then, they’ll ask follow up questions. “Why are you interested in the job? Why are you looking for a job?” They may also ask how you heard about the job, or how much expertise you have in a certain area. And, they’ll ask how much money you want.

It’s pretty standard. The one question I have seen lately that is shocking however is this. At the very end of the interview, the recruiter will say, “After this call, can you email me a copy of your resume?” Read that again. “After this call, can you email me a copy of your resume?”

This seems like an odd question, right? What I’m getting at is this. Some recruiters are interviewing job applicants without having a copy of their resume. They aren’t downloading it ahead of time from the application. They are going into an interview cold, without knowing anything about the candidate. They’re asking random questions. They are completely and totally unprepared. And that is how they’re making important hiring decisions for the company.

As a candidate, I suppose you may want to start off an interview by checking to see that the recruiter has a copy of your resume. However, this question really seems like it may introduce an odd dynamic to the conversation.

HR leaders, if you are reading this, please take note. This is a genuine problem. I’ve observed many examples of this lately. If you’re a company, I know you want to hire the best people. And, you certainly don’t want to waste a candidate’s time. After all, candidates study for interviews. They memorize your job description. They scour the internet to learn about your company. They practice their answers to common interview questions. They prepare their own questions. And, often, they ask friends and family for help. This is a huge effort to go through for a recruiter to show up unprepared.

If you’re looking for a job, I don’t have a ton of great ideas for this problem. Honestly, the lack of accountability baffles me. And, companies are using these folks as the gate keepers. Sure, many recruiters are helpful. But, even one absent minded recruiter can really cause problems with an entire hiring process.

Companies, it’s past time that we hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold candidates to. It’s time to show up on time and prepared for our interviews. If we don’t have something we need in order to participate in an interview, we should ask for that piece of information before the interview begins. It’s step one.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Ethical Interviewing

When a company is looking to hire someone, finding the right candidate takes time. There are often multiple phone screens, multiple video interviews, and in person panel interviews. In some cases, there are homework assignments, IQ tests, personality tests, and drug tests. Typically, there are reference checks. Sometimes job seekers provide writing samples or portfolios of their work.

Thinking about this makes me tired. Don’t you agree? The point is, going through a job search is a ton of work – on both sides. As you can imagine, it’s very important that the job seeker is honest and up front with the company. If they misrepresent their work in any way, the company won’t be able to make the best hiring decision.

On the flip side of this coin, it’s very important that the company is honest and up front with the candidate. What could I possibly mean by that? Well, did you know that sometimes companies will interview candidates when there isn’t really a job available?

That sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it? How could that possibly happen? First, it does happen. I recently witnessed someone go through fifteen rounds of interviews with one company. At the end, the person was notified that they were the top choice candidate, but that the team wasn’t authorized to hire anyone.

I don’t think the company meant any harm by this decision. I think they truly hoped they would get approval for the position, but just never did.

But, let’s think of this from the candidate’s perspective. The candidate turned down other interviews to attend these fifteen interviews. The candidate missed their own work meetings to go to these interviews. The candidate made a lot of sacrifices of their time over months in order to make this work. They made these choices because they were investing in an opportunity that the candidate wanted.

When the company shared with the candidate that they wouldn’t be able to hire them, the company never apologized. It seems clear that the company didn’t realize how much they personally impacted that job seeker. The company never thought about the other opportunities the person walked away from to focus on them.

This is where ethics come in. Interviewing candidates for a job isn’t the same as test driving cars at the dealership. They’re real people. If you don’t select someone because they weren’t the best candidate, no problem. And, if the job was canceled midway through the process, well, life happens sometimes. But, if you are interviewing candidates when you know there is not approval for a job, and you aren’t disclosing that information to the candidate in the first conversation, you are being an unethical hiring manager. The candidate should be able to decide if this role is important enough to prioritize it, considering the potential risk involved.

Let’s agree to be honest and up front. Ethics are important. Transparency is important.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Emotional Rollercoaster

Job searching is tough. But, what is really tough is job searching when you’re unemployed. Through my work with job seekers, I’ve noticed a trend. Those who are unemployed are much more distressed by the process of job searching then those who aren’t.

When thinking through this issue, I looked up the term “emotional rollercoaster.” I was surprised to find multiple websites that claim the term was coined by Dr. N. Amundson in relation to dealing with unemployment. He published an article called, “The dynamics of unemployment: Job loss and job search.”

I’d never heard of this article, but I was able to verify on Google Scholar that it does exist. In the description, it says, “We have developed an integrated model comparing job loss to the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and job search to “burnout” (enthusiasm, stagnation, frustration, apathy).”

If you have a family member who is unemployed, you have probably wondered what is going on. Why don’t they just get over it? Be positive and have a better attitude, right?

Well, sadly, it’s not that simple. When you experience other types of loss, like a death in the family, it can feel absolutely awful. At the time, there’s really nothing worse. But, if other areas in your life stay stable, eventually, you start to feel somewhat normal again after a certain period of grief.

But, unfortunately, with unemployment, these feelings of grief don’t resolve. The unemployed person must alter every piece of their life in order to cope with a sudden loss of income. They may stop going to the doctor. They may buy cheaper food. They may become isolated from friends because they don’t feel comfortable with the cost of going to a restaurant for dinner.

With unemployment, until it’s over, the person continues to be in the middle of an emergency. The end point is unknown, and the worries multiply by the day. To make matters worse, loved ones often assume the unemployed person is doing something wrong. After all, if they were doing everything right, they would have a job by now.

But, that’s not the reality of the situation. Normally, when we look for a job, we have a job. We look passively. It can take a few years to find something that’s the right fit. But, nobody notices because we still have a job. And, when you have a job, you job search in secret. When you’re unemployed, everyone knows you’re looking.

If you have an unemployed friend, cut them a little slack. Realize that it’s not just something they should have a better attitude about. Just because they haven’t landed a job doesn’t mean they aren’t good at what they do. It doesn’t mean they should switch careers. And, it doesn’t mean they need unsolicited advice.

What it means is that they need your friendship and support to get them through this emotional rollercoaster.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach