This is part three of our five part series on starting your job hunt. Starting with The Resume, and followed by The Job Interview, we are going to show you how to start your search process, and navigate each additional step along the way. Follow along each part of the series to learn the nuances of working with your recruiter, negotiating your salary, giving notice, and everything that comes between.
The thing no one tells you about looking for a new job: you feel like a spy. You’re taking calls and ducking in coffee shops you’ve never noticed before; you speak in code to your recruiter; and you keep your interview activity and, sometimes, salary locked up like they’re state secrets. In short, you’re stressed. Every glance or ‘where are you going’ feels like knowing condemnation. You feel at the mercy of others. You don’t like keeping secrets, but everyone’s told you it’s only way, so that when your recruiter asks you where else you might be interviewing, your first instinct is to evade.
And that’s a mistake. Spies have handlers; you have us.
You and your recruiter, minus the evening gala wear.
The biggest and most important part of our job is to be your advocate, and advocates can really only fully help you when the relationship is based upon honesty. Think about lawyers, doctors, and counselors: none of them can give you their full professional advice unless they know what’s going on. It’s the same with recruiting. Afterall, we want to find you the job you want, but for us to understand what that is, and not only find it, but market you to the client, we have to be clear where you stand.
Which brings us to discussing where you’re interviewing with your recruiter. Sharing where you are interviewing gives recruiters one of their single biggest sales points to the client. Yes, where you work, what you’ve done, and how you perform matter, but letting our client know where else you are interviewing can put the power back in your hands faster than anything outside a phenomenal interview performance.
The reason letting your interviewer (our client) knowing where else you are in process is so effective is because it engenders a sense of credibility, competition, and clarity.
Interviewing is incredibly hard. There are classes and books and conferences all around how to do it better, but still everyone feels like they’re missing something. And why wouldn’t they? One of the keys to building any successful organizations is making sure the right people join. But how do you find the right people? Some companies go by university, others by prior employer, others by career arc, but all struggle with the initial and most important question: Can this person do the job?
And the easiest way to get them to answer yes, is to see that someplace else has already answered yes to that question. Employers like to know someone has been co-signed, by other like minded companies. It makes that initial decision maker feel validated in already liking you, or makes them give you the benefit of the doubt. After all, if company X thinks they are worth their time, well, why should we miss out?
Yes, even companies feel FOMO. Nothing makes a company crazier than a thought of losing out on a great talent to a competitor, and in today’s technology and creative markets every other company feels like a competitor. Suddenly, schedules open up for you, people ask more interesting interview questions, they could even cut out a round or two, all with the goal of getting you the best possible offer to choose THEM.
And who doesn’t like to be courted?
Of course, the most important part of creating and fueling that competition comes with being straightforward as to where you are in the process.
An underappreciated aspect of interviewing is that not every company follows the exact same pace. However, if we know where you’re interviewing, we can try and coordinate so that the companies you’re interviewing with either speed up or slow down their process for you. But timing is only half of it, interviewers need to know where they stand.
Are they your first choice? Or third? If third, what’s the difference between it and the other two companies you have ranked above it? Maybe there’s something they can do to help elevate themselves. For example, maybe you rank Company Z third because you live deep in the heart of Bushwick and getting over to Far Mid-town West means an hour commute versus the 30 minutes to Company X and Y’s union square and Soho offices. Well, what if company Z suddenly guaranteed you the ability to work from home one day a week?
That might change things. Or maybe Company X is a lead role, well, company Z can then emphasize that while you might not be leading a team of people, you would be solely responsible for the strategy and delivery of the product, in other words, you’d fully own every aspect of your work.
You’d be empowered.
And really, that’s what all of us really want out of our job search to feel like we are drivers of our careers. Only, it can be a long and grueling road, so let us know where you want to go, hop into the back seat and take a nap. Don’t worry, we’ll get us there to the other side of the wall.