Career Planning Expert’s Tip of the Month – February

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

To quote the very talented Tina Turner…what’s love got to do with it? Well, a whole lot if we’re talking about the job search process. My OB professor once inquired of my classmates and me “What are some criteria used to determine hiring and promotional decisions?” I promptly raised my hand to respond “likability” amongst my classmates’ more logical replies of “qualifications” and “past performance”. At first my prof had that “you are incorrect” look on his face, but then he paused for a moment and shortly thereafter acknowledged the truth in my sarcastic, yet true claim. This is my second post on why the job search process is like dating (check out the first love post here) AND on why likability is so important:

If they want you, you’ll know it
I hate to play gender stereotypes here, but I’m going to do it anyway. Ladies, how many of you eventually knew you had been “dumped” by a someone because he or she just stopped calling you? Men, how many of you lost interest in a prospective dating partner and decided not to call instead of actually giving this person the courtesy of letting them know you are no longer interested? You don’t have to answer that. It’s rhetorical – and it’s the same thing with employers. I often tell students, if an employer is interested in you, they will make an extra effort to get to know you and provide you with updates on the status of your candidacy. It’s not all that different from the messaging I share with my single girlfriends – when it’s right, it’s easy. Same thing with the job search, folks.

If you are high maintenance, it is not going to work out

Instead of studying linear programming on Saturday night (like the diligent student I should be), I hung out with a bunch of girlfriends. This time, I strategically positioned myself near the single women. I love my friends, but I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the conversation around the four C’s (i.e. cut, clarity, color, and carat weight) with regard to their desired (more like minimum requirements) future engagement ring specs, was indicative of the unrealistic criteria they were using to evaluate prospective “candidates”. I recognize that I am basically from Pluto because I didn’t want an engagement ring myself, but I do know that when excessive demands are placed on the relationship it’s a recipe for disaster. The same thing goes for the job search. If you set unrealistic expectations around what your employer can do for you or if you ask for special privileges in the recruitment process before you even start a job, you are asking to “get dumped.”

First impressions are critical

I can’t even count on my hands the number of times I did not select a student for an interview (when I was still a recruiter) because he or she gave off a less than stellar first impression. From low energy to sweaty palms to inappropriate attire, the reasons why a candidate may not be selected for an interview are numerous – AND who says there even has to be a reason? Is it the same in love…sometimes we just don’t click with someone else even if he or she appears “perfect” on the surface. One of my college friends kept trying to find a Russian and Jewish soul mate (talk about needle in a haystack). Many seemingly perfect candidates crossed her J-Date home page, but they were mostly mediocre with a few dismal candidates. For the record, she ended up with a wonderful guy who fit neither criteria and they couldn’t be happier. If it doesn’t feel right at the beginning (i.e. they aren’t enamored with you and vice versa), it probably isn’t.

~ Joy Schwartz, Career Planning Expert, Campus Calm™
Joy Schwartz

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