Job seeker: give the people what they want

In: Tim's Strategy

19 Mar 2010


If you are looking for work there are 5 types of people you need to please.  And the bummer is they all want something different from you.  Here they are and here’s what you need to give them:


Recruiters want to know a little something about you.  That little something?  Are you a fit or not?  If not, might you be a fit for next time?  While the good ones look to build a few long term relationships, most have their eyes fully on the here and now.  Looking to solve a problem for a client.  If you are a good fit, you will be offered a warm blanket.  If you are not a fit, you will be offered a spot in the file cabinet for later use.  Don’t get me wrong, recruiters are an important part of the job search process.  But beyond becoming known, being accessible and being a good source for referrals, don’t try to do much more here.

The Fellow Unemployed

Others looking for work can be an incredible resource and a source of friendship (short or long term).  But what do they want?  First, they want a few minutes of your time.  To share their situation with you and perhaps get a follow-up coffee with you.  Second, they want leads.  To companies and to jobs.  And you should give them whatever you can.  Third, they want new relationships.  With recruiters or people you know.  Anyone who may have a lead to a job.  Your good relations with others in the market will bring good fortune to you.

The Employed

When out networking you always want to include the employed.  They have knowledge (about jobs at their company) and credibility (internally and externally).  They can provide leads, references and market insight.  What do they want?  First, to be used appropriately by you and to not have their leads shared with your entire network without their permission.  To have their time respected.  They are busier than you.  To not be taken advantage of during their time with you.  For example, a bait and switch informational interview.  One where you break the rules and ask for a job.  They want to help – but usually on their terms.

The Folks in HR

The good people in HR have a tough job.  They have to sift through hundreds maybe thousands of resumes each week looking for ten or fifteen who might be worth a phone call.  For each job available.  They are swamped.  They want your resume when it qualifies you for a job.  Not when it sounds good.  They want short, well written cover letters that quickly fit you to the job at hand.  They want a resume that clearly identifies your related experience without trying too hard.  They want, just like us all, to work efficiently and bring back good results.  And if they don’t offer you an interview, they want to be left alone.

The Hiring Manager

This one’s pretty simple.  The hiring manager wants 4-5 qualified candidates to review and 2-3 great ones to interview.  In today’s market, they want low risk.  That means few if any people out of the industry or out of the function will get a shot.  Today, very few hiring managers are looking for the best athlete.  Although they should be considering that.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of great athletes out there.  With budgets tight, a hiring manager wants to make a great decision.  Not just for themselves.  But also for their boss.  Who is likely judging them on their recommended hire.

If you are not giving these people want they want, you will end up as an extra in a movie that never gets filmed.  The rose that never gets picked from the garden.  So think about your approach, your materials, your tone and your talents.  Be a good fit.

And be a giver.  Give the people what they want.


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