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Dealing with Jealousy When Networking and Interviewing  

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Nate W.
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January 6, 2017 4:48 am  

Dear Forum,

Several times, I have applied for positions for which I was well qualified and networked into the group; speaking with several colleagues and even managers informally. After several positive conversations with the head of the group who makes the hiring decisions, my resume is sometimes delegated to a junior manager. Then when I am introduced to this manager (or try to introduce myself), I am given a cold shoulder and I haven't even said hello yet. I find this behavior annoying; judging someone before you have met them. Often I find out later, that manager is jealous of my background and fears that I might out shine them or another colleague who they might trust or like. Whatever happened to hire the best talent who can help the team (assuming they are reasonably nice and reasonable)? I am sure everyone has run into this behavior on occasion while networking. The question is how do you respond to it?

Here is one of those such situations that I am dealing with right now. I am applying for a position in a technology transfer office. The VP of intellectual property likes my patent experience and wants to consider me for a licensing position (or senior technology and patent analyst). The VP and I get along and have had positive talks. Plus, he referred my resume to the director for some positions. He told me that I can apply for the junior positions listed but I might be overqualified for them. However, he delegates these junior positions to his director who is a few years younger than I am and she has a patent analyst who she really likes as a friend. My scientific background (depth and diversity of expertise in life sciences) is far superior to this patent analyst and I have passed the patent bar. So when I was introduced to this director at a conference and inquired about the open positions, I got the buzz-off look and a lawyered-up response. The only thing that I can assume is that she is jealousy and doesn't want to hire those who compare favorable with her credentials or those of her friend. I know that I can help the group and I am well qualified.

Bottom line here is that the VP wants to hire me directly (where he is my supervisor) but the director doesn't want to out of jealousy. I don't know this person but have thoughts that she must be a controlling individual. The VP, her senior supervisor, seems quite reasonable and he is waiting on more funding for another licensing position that he is considering for me.

I find this behavior so unprofessional and silly. Think I am going to return a favor?

How would you handle this situation?

I am thinking kill her with kindness and then deal directly with her supervisor for a senior level licensing position when funding is available. However, she is probably going to be lobbying for her friends.


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DX
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January 6, 2017 9:20 am  

Hi Nate,

From my Point of view, making a leap to accusing a hiring Manager or Network contact of jealousy based on a self-evaluated decision on your superior or equal competitiveness, knowledge base and Expertise is risky and not the best course of Action.

Making any acusaton of jealousy and proving it is a very hard one anyways and evidence to prove or deny such is very very verys subjective. Just don't go there.

I would challenge that you put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes.

As much as you may get along with the VP and s/he wants to hire you, the decision is with the director - the VP has delegated that authroity to the Director to take the hiring decision, s/he has not ordered or demanded that Director to hire you. In corporate Terms, if that VP is making a demand for his/her subordinate to hire a FTE report, that's disempowering, not-appropriate and bad behavior.

So the hiring decision as you wrote may be with that director, not the VP, the VP can only make a recommendation. Also if not the case, the decision, if not strong influence so it may as well be a decision, on team-fit is also with that director should you be considered a member of the Team, that that decison is beyond any perceptions you may have of your superior Talent and abilities, it will be personality driven with consdiration secondly of your competencies.

That being said, going back to putting youself in the shoes of that Director, imagine you get a CV from your Boss with an endorsement from them. You don't know who the Person is and when you meet them, how are you going to be? are you going to greeet that Person as though you were Long time friends? Probably not. Or are you going to be professional and feel the Person out first? In that case you'd be reserved (i hope) and try to understand more right? You would know nothing about the Person i front of you from a personality Point of view.

It is well possible that you may come across as cold or luke warm but probably its not really the case. Also add the confounder of Meeting at a conference, that director probably had other things on their mind that took higher priority that you. That's normal, it happens. Right? I'm a warm Person, but to be honest, i'm sure I come accross as what you describe when I'm Meeting others for the first time. Relationships take a while to build. So don't be quick to judge.

So then that goes to what Actions have YOU taking to get to know that director?

Have you invited them to a coffee or a lunch for a "getting to know you and informational interview"? Did you use the conference Meeting to schedule a follow on Meeting? You could have acknowledge the busy time at the conference and simply request to meet at a better time, less busy time.

Remember alot about working with others is about personality and fit and you are in a seat to help grease that. Sometimes you can't control it, remember we dont' get along with everyone, we all have met someone where after the first 10 seconds you're basically saying "yuck". I've had a few dates like that in my early days.

So becareful and put yourself in that person's shoes. Relationships take time and you have an open door. Taking a negative "world is against you view" is defeatist and will get you nowhere fast. The only behavior you can modify is yours.

And remember, more often - when you think there is jealousy, thats intagible and most likely unsustantiated. The more tangible reality is that Person doesn't want to work with you due to personality conflict, not fear of your Talent/Expertise - remember, the Boss is the Boss, rare you'll ever outshine a Boss if anything - and if you to think you're so much better that the Boss, then your Job is make the Boss shine via your Talent, make them out shine others - you'll be rewarded more on that front that the other way. Consider you should view your Boss as your Partner not as Person antagonistic to your career - any other view well...i suggest starting your own Business - you're just Setting yourself for bad outcomes at the very start.

And I also think it self-defeatist to have superior views of your Talent/Expertise to those whom you're looking to get a Job from. They are in their positions, rather your discussion Point should not be "why i'm so much better", your discussion Point to the hiring manager should be "how can i follow your lead, leverage your knowledge while delivering and developing on my experience and Expertise". That's the constructive view and the one that will be more successful opening doors.

And seriously, thinking about playing politics before you're even hired? I would take a very very very deep look at your EQ here. Not to be insulting in anyway but just some constructive criticism.,

Good luck!

DX


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Nate W.
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January 6, 2017 5:27 pm  

Dear DX,

Thanks for your response. I should add a few more facts to this story. This office is divided into several groups that are lead by several directors beneath the VP. However, the VP has his own group where he makes his own hiring decisions. I'll assume that he can override a hiring decision if he wants but I suspect that he wouldn't. The another fact is that I know another licensing associate in one of the departments beneath the director. This person, call him Guy, and I have a good relationship. I have never advocated that Guy lobby for me but he has graciously introduced me to the VP and another colleague. Guy will openly tell me that my background compares favorably and in some cases exceeds that of others in the office. He has encouraged me to apply for open positions. Also, he has informed me about the dynamics of the office. Based on Guy's comments, I know that there is a junior patent analyst who has less experience and expertise than I do who is good friends with the director. Analyzing and drafting patents is where I could help the office but I doubt the director will go for another patent person or hiring me in a junior patent role. This person is quite young and almost fresh out of graduate school.

When the VP spoke with me, I said that he wanted to consider me for a more senior licensing role in his group when he gets more funding. He did say that he would refer me for the junior positions but that I was overqualified; however if you would consider them. I think the reason he said this was because of the age difference between the Director (3-4 years) and I as well as the age difference of someone who the director might consider for a person in these junior positions.

I am trying to keep an open mind about this director but I know jealousy when I see it. Based on Guy's comments, your background compares quite well scientifically than anyone we have on staff as a licensing associate, including the director. Personally, I could use your help. In terms of the patent work, we have Sally; she is quite capable in a junior role but no patent experience which you have. I know you can help her. But when I ask about a patent positions, the director throws out Sally's name, like she is her protector. I have met this director twice and it is always a cold shoulder and defensive answers. I have no ill feelings towards her because I hardly know her. Based on her demeanor when we talk, she just doesn't want to give me a chance to make my case or even establish a professional acquaintance. This is not normal and Guy as well as the VP know that I can help the office and that I am well qualified. This is just jealousy plain and simple.

However, I like the VP and Guy. I know if I did get the job I would have to work around her prickly demeanor. I think that is what the VP is suggesting there would be a better fit if you were my supervisor than her; but he can't directly say that.

Talking about EQ. It just amazes me why people like the director behave this way. At a conference or open meeting to the public, you are representing the office and the University. Building relationships is a important part of technology transfer. I would think this means graciously meeting people and keeping an open mind when they are interesting in doing business with the University or being hired. Otherwise, people will go elsewhere. The director could have handled her interactions with me much better. If she was busy, tell me that and make a time to talk later. Ask to see your resume and then arrange a meeting. If you are not interested, tell me that too and I'll get the message. To give a cold shoulder and be defensive to someone qualified who might be able to help, especially when they are referred by your supervisor, it is rule and arrogant. You can't build a business relationship (or friendship) when you are so closed minded. It takes time and an open mind as well as a willingness to met others and listen. Behaving this way does a disservice to the reputation of your company and office, people who are astute about matters of EQ know this. I am member of local Rotary and meet many prominent business leaders and successful entrepreneurs that I have good relations with; they get what I am saying. My EQ is in good shape.

Jealousy is a natural sort of reaction among insecure colleagues who might be considered competitors. The secure colleagues will welcome the talent and up their performance. The senior ranks will gladly consider additional help and talent to get a problem solved (make money or save money) over silly issues of personnel dynamics. You are there to do a job with the people you have on staff. Push comes to shove doing the job well comes first then relationships. Jealousy is also how age discrimination occurs and why many people don't get jobs for which they are well qualified.

DX, the last paragraph is a topic for a later discussion and I am sure that we will have a difference of opinion and interesting discussion.


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RLemert
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January 7, 2017 1:08 am  

In addition to the excellent advice you've already received, I'd add two comments.

First, you seem to be putting a lot of energy into worrying about things you can't control. So you think the director is being rude/is jealous/whatever - what are you going to be able to do about it? There is only one person who's actions/attitudes you can control - focus on that person.

Second, if the situation is as you describe, do you really want that position? As I said, you're not going to miraculously going to change them. Chances are you get in that group and - assuming you've accurately described their attitudes - they're going to make your life miserable.


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PG
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January 7, 2017 7:42 pm  

When you are in a situation in which you dont understand why a person is doing something it can often be helpful to see things from the other persons perspective. I will give you a hypothertical scenario that doesnt have anything to do with jealousy.

If you are a hiring manager and have found a candidate that you like, someone who fulfills the requirements for the position and that you Believe would work well with the rest of your team and be motivated to stay in this position for several years. In this situation your manager shows up and strongly recommends another candidate. You dont know if this recommendation is because this new candidate is a friend of your manager, if the person comes through other contacts or if the new candidate is actually a good candidate with the correct competence for the position.

Most likely you will not be overly enthusiastic when meeting the candidate the first time and if you in this meeting find something that speaks against the candidate such as that he is overqualified for the position and therefore likely to move on to something else in the near future you might find yourself stuck in less than comfortable situation were your boss wants you to hire someone that you dont want to hire.

If your boss hadnt pushed for this new candidate it would have been an easy decision not to hire this new candidate since you already have someone with a better fit (and that people dont get an offer because they are overqualified happens all the time). In the current situation it gets more complicated.

Ássuming that the new candidate cant convince you to hire him the best outcome is that you both agree that he isnt a good hire for example due to being overqualified. If you both agree you will have an easy discussion with your boss and in this situation you might actually support this candidate when a position comes that he is a good fit for.


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DX
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January 9, 2017 9:39 am  

Hi Nate,

Well, I think you're over-analyzing the Situation and I think you're Focusing on elements you just can't control. Personalities and established relationships are 2 of them you're focusing on. There are People when you meet them will have a personality that are different that yours. And sometimes, those personalities are insurmountable and not worth investing time - especially if you're in Job search mode.

Its different when you're employed and have to, by Basis of the Business Need, work with different personalities and make it work.

For Job seeking use in persuing a luke warm or cold shoulder once you've received a Signal or signals that a hiring Manager/ or key decision maker is not willing to engage.

I had a similar example a few years back - I was in contact (via heavy Networking efforts) with a head of a department/Business unit - had lunch with the Person. He was VP Level in a Big Pharma. I even met a Team-member of his, we had coffee (your so called "Guy"), we shared similar career paths and TA knowledge. That VP forwarded my CV to one of his direct reports, a Director who was hiring in her Team. So there was an open Position. Excitedly I thought, wow, I'm a total shoe in! I was invited for an "informal' interview!

Well I go met this Person and well, within 10 seconds of Meeting this person, my heart sank and my gut churned. Told myself to give this Person a Chance and I showed warmth to her, but that was not reciprocated the fact is that I was qualified for the Job technical-wise (Expertise wise). But then again..i was not qualified ...personality wise. That Person was cold, not so warm, and a bit guarded. I didn't Label that Person as Jealous, or mean, or terrible leader etc. I accepted that it just wasn't going to work! If I had a negative gut reaction during an interview, then OMG, seriously had I been offered a Job - would I really have wanted to work with such Person?! And as my Boss? Despite the fact I like the hiring Manager and one of her colleagues...no way!

I closed the discussion saying thank you and mention the opporunity was not right for me, she agreed (we both knew it was a personality issue, we both were politically saavy to know how to manage the situation) and that was that - I moved on and didn't give it another thought Job wise.

So take some Inspiration from me - you've put alot of effort in, but know when to move on.

Good luck!

Dx


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Nate W.
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January 12, 2017 12:46 am  

In addition to the excellent advice you've already received, I'd add two comments.

First, you seem to be putting a lot of energy into worrying about things you can't control. So you think the director is being rude/is jealous/whatever - what are you going to be able to do about it? There is only one person who's actions/attitudes you can control - focus on that person.

Second, if the situation is as you describe, do you really want that position? As I said, you're not going to miraculously going to change them. Chances are you get in that group and - assuming you've accurately described their attitudes - they're going to make your life miserable.

It is only one of three gigs in town that do any patent prosecution and licensing in the life sciences. There is always a dysfunctional person in a work group; so I might have to adapt but I don't know this on the basis of what I know so far.

For the physical sciences and engineering, there are many firms and I have approached many of these firms for chemical work but they don't have enough business to warrant a full time hire.

Like I said before, I don't know this director and have met her only twice (<5 min). I have done enough networking to know that her reaction is not normal. Why she is acting this way? It could be anything and why should I care? I have a tendency while networking if someone is acting strangely or not openly honest about my candidacy (or positions in general) I feel like I am doing something wrong or something is wrong with my qualifications even though they haven't said anything. Maybe the problem is with them? Anyone on this forum have this reaction?

Some have said that I should that put myself in their shoes. Maybe my actions going forward should be just the opposite assuming they haven't said anything. This might appear insensitive; my job is not to understand the psychology of the prospective hiring manager or employees in that group. Maybe I should care less about the person(s) and focus on trying to get a job offer then we can evaluate fit later (which can be done nicely but assertively). This means identifying the hiring manager, getting heard by the hiring manager, making sure the manager listens to you and considers your qualifications objectively, and making sure the manager allows you to address any objections. Most managers will allow you to sell your qualifications if you appear reasonable and personable. However, a hiring manager who projects a nonverbal image of being unwilling to talk with a qualified candidate is sending a mixed signal.

If you are not interested, just tell the candidate? If there is somebody else in the group who would consider your qualifications, just tell the candidate? Maybe I should care less about these mixed signals and just push harder. I am not a psychologist

Based on my experiences, competent and self-secure managers welcome discussions from qualified candidates and reaction by openly discussing possibilities.

Clarification:

When I spoke with VP at the conference about open positions, the VP took me aside to a conference room and asked me about my situation and interest. I had sent my resume to him before the meeting and a request to talk with him. I explained to him that I was both consulting for a law firm and teaching at a college and that the consulting position was about to end. Thus, I would like to obtain a full-time position in your group given my patent experience and considerable life science expertise. However, I don't where I would fit in? He said there are some assistant roles (licensing and patent analysts) open that you can apply for but I think you are over-qualified. However, I would like to consider you for a senior licensing position when available. Send me your resume again and if you need work now, I'll forward your resume for the assistant role (for which he is not the hiring manager but the director) and I replied yes do that. The VP understands that I want to stay here and that there are limited options here for life science work. I think the VP was sending me a message to wait for the right position.


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Nate W.
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January 12, 2017 1:01 am  

When you are in a situation in which you dont understand why a person is doing something it can often be helpful to see things from the other persons perspective. I will give you a hypothertical scenario that doesnt have anything to do with jealousy.

If you are a hiring manager and have found a candidate that you like, someone who fulfills the requirements for the position and that you Believe would work well with the rest of your team and be motivated to stay in this position for several years. In this situation your manager shows up and strongly recommends another candidate. You dont know if this recommendation is because this new candidate is a friend of your manager, if the person comes through other contacts or if the new candidate is actually a good candidate with the correct competence for the position.

Most likely you will not be overly enthusiastic when meeting the candidate the first time and if you in this meeting find something that speaks against the candidate such as that he is overqualified for the position and therefore likely to move on to something else in the near future you might find yourself stuck in less than comfortable situation were your boss wants you to hire someone that you dont want to hire.

If your boss hadnt pushed for this new candidate it would have been an easy decision not to hire this new candidate since you already have someone with a better fit (and that people dont get an offer because they are overqualified happens all the time). In the current situation it gets more complicated.

Ássuming that the new candidate cant convince you to hire him the best outcome is that you both agree that he isnt a good hire for example due to being overqualified. If you both agree you will have an easy discussion with your boss and in this situation you might actually support this candidate when a position comes that he is a good fit for.

PG, that is a possibility. They (TT Office) know there are limited options in this town for life science patent work. Why make a big deal out of this situation you described; just tell the candidate that? I would never close off an opportunity before it happens. If a qualified candidate is approaching me enthusiastically about a job, I would never turn them away before listening to them or fault them for trying. It is positive attribute if they are proactively talking with people; NOT a negative. Professional and polite managers understand this, like the VP or my previous supervisor.

I respect honesty from a prospective manager even when I might not like the answer. That's all I can ask for when job hunting.


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DX
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January 12, 2017 9:15 am  

I think a key Topic missing on this Forum is "when to stop chasing a lead". Or when to take the brave and self-protecting decision to back off or park a lead or pursuit of an opportunity.

Either cut it completely or park it for a much later reactivation sometime in the distant future when you think the time is ripe.

This is one of those examples I think where the signals are fairly loud (as I read) that further Investment of time will not give a return and will potentially in the Close a door permanently. As with my case where I backed off, all the signals of a no-go were there for me.

Also PG raises some good Points. Nate seems to expect that hiring Managers have all this time in the world to Focus on candidates, to chase and butter them up, and do the best to attract them. Maybe that was the behavior many years ago. For the most part, this is not the case today. Hiring Managers do have thier day Job to do and limited time or interest to thinking how to appease a Job seeker.

Today, even if you make through the interview and get a Job offer, its not that a Company is waiting Hands and knees to get you. You just happen to be 1 out of 3 to 4 other candidates that they would make an offer to, you are just the very "soft" top-pick and they'll be quick to move on. This is the reality and it Comes back to getting that oh so important share of voice. And also knowning when Investment won't give additional returns - move on.

Sadly, I do think today its so much tougher _ with linkedin, drive by recruiters/recruting firms, fewer jobs, with global Level competition, with a changing industry and landscape it can be pretty intense.

So there no additional answer to respond other than continue tooling-up, continue Networking, be attentive to environment and also know when chasing an opportunity is not longer worthy of investment.

Best,

DX


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Nate W.
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January 12, 2017 11:05 pm  

DX,

Let's review some conventional advice on trying to find a job:

1) 70-80% of all jobs are found through networking
2) A majority of jobs are not advertised (i.e. hidden job market)

Here are other issues prospective manager complain about in candidates:

1) Candidates lack communication skills
2) Behavioral attributes are important in building a team

Given this set of facts, managers shouldn't complain about a prospective candidate enquiring about a job, especially a qualified one. A good manager can always reasonably handle an unqualified candidate who calls them too much. You asked:

I think a key Topic missing on this Forum is "when to stop chasing a lead". Or when to take the brave and self-protecting decision to back off or park a lead or pursuit of an opportunity.

Either cut it completely or park it for a much later reactivation sometime in the distant future when you think the time is ripe. DX

I am saying in this environment and field, push it until someone says no. This can be done nicely but assertively. If the hiring manager can't say no to a candidate who they don't want to talk with or consider, it is their own problem, not the candidate. If they get mad, so what, they will get over it. Sometimes a candidate needs to know where they stand because there are some managers who will never give you a chance .....based on absolutely nothing ....at least anything objective. Just say no I am not interested, if that is the case. This allows the candidate to move on and the candidate will not call again. What I am saying here is if the manager is playing games and doesn't want to consider a candidate? Just say no and allow the candidate to move on. How many jobs have you (or I) lost out on because we didn't push it enough? You don't know. My job when following a lead is to get heard and make sure that person allows me to make my case (especially in light of stats above about networking and hidden jobs). This is true of any good salesperson. If a manager faults a candidate for hustling and being assertive (or they are closed minded not to speak with someone for a few minutes), then the problem is with the manager. It is a sales job and you have to be assertive.

You said:

Also PG raises some good Points. Nate seems to expect that hiring Managers have all this time in the world to Focus on candidates, to chase and butter them up, and do the best to attract them. Maybe that was the behavior many years ago. For the most part, this is not the case today. Hiring Managers do have thier day Job to do and limited time or interest to thinking how to appease a Job seeker. DX

I doubt it. Today, I doubt managers work any more than they once did. The problems that I see is that managers use multiple forms of communications and they are overwhelmed by the information sent to them by email; a general lack of communication and phone etiquette skills; worried more about hiring based on minor issues of personality and not skills and expertise; reluctance to use the phone to communicate, and how can you evaluate behavioral attributes and fit based a cv or ten minutes at a conference (the answer is you can't). So, this is more reason to network assertively and not back don't so easily. There is no indication by the director that I am doing something wrong.

You said:

And remember, more often - when you think there is jealousy, thats intagible and most likely unsustantiated. The more tangible reality is that Person doesn't want to work with you due to personality conflict, not fear of your Talent/Expertise - remember, the Boss is the Boss, rare you'll ever outshine a Boss if anything - and if you to think you're so much better that the Boss, then your Job is make the Boss shine via your Talent, make them out shine others - you'll be rewarded more on that front that the other way. Consider you should view your Boss as your Partner not as Person antagonistic to your career - any other view well...i suggest starting your own Business - you're just Setting yourself for bad outcomes at the very start.

If you had met a prospective hiring manager for less than ten minutes (as I described), w/o reading a resume, what can a manager reasonably assess about your personality in order to eliminate you from a job candidacy? What personality conflict can they come up with?

I call a person like this judgmental. In this case, I sense there is some jealously or protector attitude possibly among the director but I don't know what and I don't care. Personally, it takes me time to get to know someone and trust them, certainly more than a few minutes.

Frankly, I should just call her up and say the following:

"Hello Jane, My name is Nate and I am a local patent analyst and molecular pharmacologist with significant experience and expertise in the life sciences. We met at the conference and I enjoyed your talk. How are you doing? <Great, likewise I enjoyed the meeting and didn't have much time to speak>. I believe that I can help your group with licensing and patent analysis. Can I have couple minutes of your time? I would like to met with you over a cup of coffee to explain my background and its relevance as well as find out about your goals for the group. Is this is ok with you? What's a convenient time? Thanks"

I would jazz it up a bit. If the response is negative or she interrupts before I am finished, I will come back with a direct:

"What would it take for you to consider me for X position?"

Or a softer:

"Well we will never know if it is fit if we aren't open about it and if it isn't quite the match maybe can help each other with an exchange of information or an occasional referral?"

FYI-We should have a discussion on this forum about dealing with objections when networking? Any tooling up articles from the past?

If the response is still not receptive, I will give up because the issue is with her. My hope is that she will take the time to meet with me. Networking is a two way street that involves reciprocation. Some people understand this and others don't. Everyone is busy and can always make this excuse, DX, but it is more about a willingness to make quality hires and to reciprocate. The candidate has to figure what buttons to push in order to get the face to face interview.

DX, I have noticed that we have a difference of opinion. You believe that personality and behavioral traits are weighed more that skills and expertise in hiring decisions. In my experiences, I believe skills and expertise are given more consideration than soft intangible skills. The manager hires you to get a job done not necessarily to hire someone they like or who might be well like among the team. Further, senior managers are more likely to consider skills and expertise objectively and manage any behavioral issues as they occur. In other words, they expect you to be courteous and reasonable with others but foremost they expect a high level of expertise and productivity. Whereas the inexperienced manager hires more based on personality preferences and not necessarily based on talent. This opinion comes from many years of experiences both in academia and the private sector (as well as a several high level business executives I have know through family members). If I am wrong about this, why I should I try to emphasize my accomplishments, education, expertise, and skills. This is why I believe that one should start networking at the higher levels of the organization and get referrals.

I am curious about your background and area of expertise within the pharmaceutical industry is? Some times you sound like a HR director or an industrial psychologist than a scientist. I enjoy the exchange and the contrast of opinions.

Still I am coming to believe that you have to push hard when networking due to a lot factors beyond the candidate's control and occasionally you will encounter a manager playing games where a candidate will have to push it to deal with the objections or their demeanor.


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PG
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January 13, 2017 10:22 am  

I will start with saying that this is turning into one of the best discussions we had on the forum for a while so thank you Nate for starting the thread and driving it forward and also to DX and others that are contributing

Going into more specific comments I completely agree with your Points about networking, the hidden job market and things that managers often complain about in candidates. However, I dont agree with all your conclusions from those points.

Partially based on local Culture the way of saying no will be different and again I agree with your Point that it has similarities with a sales job and I will use that as an example. At a previous Company I worked for we had a US sales rep that I would describe as someone who pushes to hard. He had excellent Reviews from his boss who actually in a conversation with me said that he loved the way this person conducted sales and also behaved in other disussions. He then asked me about how I thought about it and if also didnt find him very convincing. My response to that was that if this person would have shown up in my lab with the attitude he had I would probably have thrown him out and I would have tried to avoid dealing with him in the future. Obviously as a job seeker you dont want to push things to this Point. Rather you need to know when to back off. This can be different in different countries, with different companies and different personalities. Backing of to early might cost you the position that you are applying for while backning off to late may cause complications also for future positions with that manager or even Company.

If I meet with a candidate for an actual interview we usually spend 30-60 minutes with that person. For managers and other key positions it may take longer time. However if I meet or talk by phone with someone who is just potentially interested in a job and it has not yet moved to an interview 10 minutes or less is probably Close to what you can expect from most managers and this is a lot of time as compared to the time spent on the average CV for an advertised position.

You believe that personality and behavioral traits are weighed more that skills and expertise in hiring decisions. In my experiences, I believe skills and expertise are given more consideration than soft intangible skills. The manager hires you to get a job done not necessarily to hire someone they like or who might be well like among the team. Further, senior managers are more likely to consider skills and expertise objectively and manage any behavioral issues as they occur.

Personally I agree with DX and would say that it the complete opposite.Although experience and skills are important personallity is key to a successful hire. With increasing experience both from hiring and managing people I find myself putting more and more emphasis on the personallity. Training someone to perform a specific assay or other task is easy as compared to changing someones attitude and changing someones personallity is often almost impossible. Usually it is relatively easy to find several candidates with sufficient skills for a position and then it comes down to softer skills. As always there are exceptions and there might be some specialist positions for which you really need the person with the highest skills and need to accept other things such as social skills being more limited. I also have a quote from a CEO from a telecom Company on this topic. His statement was that if you have someone in yor staff with the right skills and the right attitude you should promote them. If they have the right attitude and the wrong skills you should train them. If they have the right skills but the wrong attitude you should fire them.

I will come back with more comments in a later post.


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DX
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Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 589
January 13, 2017 2:19 pm  

I am curious about your background and area of expertise within the pharmaceutical industry is? Some times you sound like a HR director or an industrial psychologist than a scientist. I enjoy the exchange and the contrast of opinions.

Hi Nate,

I smiled when I read your question, it just reminded me on how far I've come since my days in the lab.

My area of Expertise is centered on working with others across functions to integrate and leverage cross-functional expertise to develop and execute commercially sound strategic plans that aim to deliver business objectives. My functional allocation have been in Medical Affairs and Marketing, both functions that depend heavily on leadership-by-influence competencies to align others to identify and share resources to advance common objectives. However, functional allocation does not exclusively define how I work.

I sound like an HR director or corporate psychologist because when it Comes to working with People as I noted above, (to include hiring them) it is about leveraging and ensuring appropriate utilization and deployment of human resources (their Expertise and Talent) and ensuring a culture that supports Performance and excellence, that is defined by the behaviors you're looking to nurture, support, and leverage. And naturally as one grows in the career, the ability to do the above becomes fundamental to achieving success - in any industry really. And over time a combination of Hands-on experience linked with formal training helps - and with respect to Job seeking and interviewing - well i've been a quite a few companies and have been on both sides of the interview table (and continue to be). So yes, as you climb in career you do get to, and have to, wear different hats such as HR, psychologist, mentor, coach, supporter, manager, and leader.

So getting to you underlying question, I've had and continue to have front row seats to the elements where discussing here. And certainly doesn’t mean I’m not science-focused and not still a scientist at heart – but I’ve evolved to understand what is needed to survive and do my job(s) effectively.

A few touch Points you referenced - with respect to that Expertise and Personality balance in hiring decisions - PG nicely illustrated what I would have said. This is not to say a hiring Manager will trade complete lack of Expertise, not at all. But I'll suggest that our opinions are different due our sectors and experiences - I can't deny your experiences right? PG suggested there may be cases where expertise may trump a personality for some specialist positions – I would see these in highly technical spots where interaction with others is not a key need to get the job done. But over achingly I recommend to follow what PG said.

PG also nicely illustrates that Balance on how far to push and trying to make that call on when to continue pushing or to back off when it comes to pursuit of an opportunity. The Sales example is a good example and illustrates the Need to be attentive to the environment, situation, and personalities. You can definitely push to the Point where you can harm future opportunities and your credibility. And this is meaningful because this can be a very small world.

Regarding you comment on hiring managers not being any more busy today than in the past – in my sector I’d have to wholeheartedly disagree. We have become more resource constraint and have to do less with more. When you read about company downsizing in terms of FTEs, there is not a compensatory decrease in business expectations and rather than seeing a reduced work-load, rather quite opposite what is generally happening. Organizations are becoming flatter, less hiarchary, meaning more middle and senior management are covering more operational and tactical activities in terms of time-spend. Sure outsourcing is in play but that does not equate with lower work-load or responsibility, rather a shifting of some resource capacity to tasks for which we are still held accountable. So enter more time focused on project and budget management with few resources, if any to delegate. So now that valuable share of voice that job seekers are looking for and the time to find the right candidate becomes even more challenging. So when you do get time with a hiring Manager, besure to thank them for their time, ask them how much time they have, and you should be the time-keeper to respect that time - it will be appreciated.

And this is not just anecdotal advice, this is exactly what I’ve been through – trying to compete against organizational priorities and resource limitations to deliver on the exact same performance expectations. And then not only does this conversation related to managers time and trying to find job and interview opportunities, but also relates back to what PG and I are saying, the need for the right talent to navigate these constraints – so again back to the soft-skills as a fundamental asset. And this is not just my company, but exactly the same in other pharma companies (via my partner and dear friends who are in other pharma’s).

And finally regarding you point on “ If you had met a prospective hiring manager for less than ten minutes (as I described), w/o reading a resume, what can a manager reasonably assess about your personality in order to eliminate you from a job candidacy? What personality conflict can they come up with” - Well you’re right and then well a bit incorrect. Sadly as you noted, and realistically people do make judgement calls within the first few seconds they meet you. And even after they’ve read your resume the do the same, the resume and invite to interview does not make you immune. I won’t dwell here but I share a quote: “first impressions, are lasting impressions”. And meeting a new boss is no different than a first date. Your gut check within a few seconds will tell you if you’re going to go home alone or with company for the night. Hopefully with your date and not your boss. (he he). Way of the world and that’s a factor too. C’est la vie.

Regarding your proposed dialog with Jane, I would challenge that you position yourself as an experienced patent analyst with life science background, save the rest, you run the risk of sounding too academic. The rest of the dialog is generally fine, you may want to ask the question about her time earlier and also reference the conversation you had with her boss and mention you have an understanding that there is an open or emerging position in her Team and that you would like to explore and discuss if you'd be a fit etc.

Best,

DX


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PG
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Posts: 396
January 13, 2017 4:55 pm  

An example of pushing to hard. This is actual conversation that I overheard in the subway so it only contains half of the conversation but I Think that everyone can fill in the gaps themselves. This is an actual conversation except for that I translated it to English and removed a couple of specifics.

Hi, my name is XX and I got a no thank you reply to my application for your position. I know that I got this reply from HR but would like to talk to you as the hiring manager about why you did not offer me the position.

....

Yes that is me and I Believe that I am an ideal candidate for the position and that you should offer it to me. I know that I have all the skills required and you cant possibly find anyone better.

....

Not a good fit for the position? How can that be? I know that I have very good technical skills and my personallity really should be a good fit for workign with you.

.....

I Think that we should continue this discussion because you are making a serious mistake when not hiring me. You will loose out on a highly skilled coworker that would be willig to work hard for your Company.

....

I dont understand how you can not see that I am the ideal candidate. If you dont hire me it must be due to that you dont understand how good I am or you might be discriminating against me due to my YY

....

But I am the ideal candidate. At least we should Schedule Another meeting so that we can continue this discussion face to face rather than by phone.

....

I really dont understand how you can deny me another meeting and want you to reconsider your reply

....

You seem to be hearing what I am saying so you obviously have to be a bit stupid in not understanding that you should hire me for this position. I want to talk with your boss since he will Think that it is obvious that I should be hired.

.....
.....

ARE YOU COMPLETELY STUPID? SEND ME AN E-MAIL TODAY WITH A NEW MEETING TIME. IF YOU DONT I WILL CALL YOUR BOSS AND CONTINUE THIS DISCUSSION.

end of conversation.

I am not sure whether I was most surprised that the applicant in this case actually said what he did or that the manager on the other end of the call kept it going for so long.


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Dave Walker
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 275
January 18, 2017 7:47 pm  

@PG
Wow, is that a real conversation!? That person has seriously impressive/sociopathic phone skills.

@Everyone
I wanted to make a quick comment if that's okay.
#1: I don't think there's anything wrong in getting a final answer from the Director (who is the ultimate Hiring Manager, yes?) if you want some closure. A brief phone call would spare you the thousands of words exchanged here, I think 🙂
You may not get closure for legal reasons, which has been discussed on this board before. But at the very least you can better understand the way things are at this institution.

*****
This situations reminds me of when I have a perfect sale lined up, and then I just lose it, out of nowhere. Whole books have been written about exactly this topic -- a failure to understand the situation, to connect with the players on a deep level.

"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder


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Nate W.
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 359
January 19, 2017 6:01 pm  

An example of pushing to hard. This is actual conversation that I overheard in the subway so it only contains half of the conversation but I Think that everyone can fill in the gaps themselves. This is an actual conversation except for that I translated it to English and removed a couple of specifics.

Hi, my name is XX and I got a no thank you reply to my application for your position. I know that I got this reply from HR but would like to talk to you as the hiring manager about why you did not offer me the position.

....

Yes that is me and I Believe that I am an ideal candidate for the position and that you should offer it to me. I know that I have all the skills required and you cant possibly find anyone better.

....

Not a good fit for the position? How can that be? I know that I have very good technical skills and my personallity really should be a good fit for workign with you.

.....

I Think that we should continue this discussion because you are making a serious mistake when not hiring me. You will loose out on a highly skilled coworker that would be willig to work hard for your Company.

....

I dont understand how you can not see that I am the ideal candidate. If you dont hire me it must be due to that you dont understand how good I am or you might be discriminating against me due to my YY

....

But I am the ideal candidate. At least we should Schedule Another meeting so that we can continue this discussion face to face rather than by phone.

....

I really dont understand how you can deny me another meeting and want you to reconsider your reply

....

You seem to be hearing what I am saying so you obviously have to be a bit stupid in not understanding that you should hire me for this position. I want to talk with your boss since he will Think that it is obvious that I should be hired.

.....
.....

ARE YOU COMPLETELY STUPID? SEND ME AN E-MAIL TODAY WITH A NEW MEETING TIME. IF YOU DONT I WILL CALL YOUR BOSS AND CONTINUE THIS DISCUSSION.

end of conversation.

I am not sure whether I was most surprised that the applicant in this case actually said what he did or that the manager on the other end of the call kept it going for so long.

PG, this is easy because the candidate is being unreasonable and tactless. I never implied or said that one should insult a prospective hiring manager. You can be persistent and assertive w/o insulting your potential new supervisor. In this case, rather make statements which consists of many unknown and insulting assumptions, I would have reemphasized the strongest skills and expertise that I bring to this position, especially those I think would help this supervisor. The problem that I see at this point from a sales perspective is that we are making a huge assumption about what are the needs of this customer (i.e. supervisor) and the problems they face. This is true when we draft a cover letter or tailor a resume in response to an ad; we make these same assumptions. However, to ascertain what those needs and problems are, we potentially compound the problem by using the ad as a roadmap to answer these questions. Often our assumptions based on an ad, are incorrect because the ad often doesn't capture the specific needs or requirements of the manager. Ads are often drafted by HR, not the manager, and subject to strict company policies and EEOC regulations. The problem here is what I call "lost in translation" and why responding to ads is so ineffective. The likelihood of success of responding to ads is less than 1% (Lou Adler; louadlergroup.com and other estimates range from 1-4%). So, how do you find out accurately what the customer needs and goals are; to correctly address the concerns of the supervisor when drafting a cover letter or resume? The answer is networking and therefore, why it is much more effective (70-80%). Steven Covey said that sales is all about understanding the needs of the customer and providing solutions for their needs. How can this be done without networking or merely based on an ad?

Wouldn’t searching for a job be so much easier if candidates knew what a manager wanted and their needs as well as some understanding of the problems they would like to address with this position. I contend that this can’t be done effectively without networking. In lieu of this information, it is merely a guessing game.

However, problem with networking is that many people hate doing it, think of it as an unfair way of finding a job, or they don't like being on the receiving end of a sales pitch. Now let’s update that list of conventional advice on trying to find a job:

1) 70-80% of all jobs are found through networking
2) A majority of jobs are not advertised (i.e. hidden job market)
3) The success rate of responding to ads is about 1-4% (i.e. a response, not a hire)

The other possible complications of finding a job are computer aided screening of resumes based on keywords, recruiters in HR lacking subject matter expertise screening resumes, and hiring based on personality traits not skills and expertise to do the job well. We will ignore these other complications to simplify the arguments. If you are one of these people who dislike networking as described above, get over it because it is probably one of the most effective ways of finding a job and it is probably one of the most effective ways of finding the right candidate for a position. That's why I am saying to managers that they shouldn't give a cold shoulder to a polite request for an informational interview or an enquiry about a specific job, especially considering these three job statistics. To those managers who disagree, I say how else do you find a job?; networking odds look pretty good.. For HR executives who want to argue about the effectiveness of networking versus other recruiting methods, I say give it a rest; candidate networking helps you fill open positions. I'll come back to this point later.

Back to the scenario that PG outlined, the next obvious mistake the candidate made, besides insulting the manager, was not asking open ended questions to get at what the customer's needs and goals for this position are (especially in terms of required skills and expertise). The scenario that I am talking is subtler than PG’s example. I am talking about when you know you are qualified for a position at a target company. You compare your background to others in the group using LinkedIn. Then you draft a cover letter and tailor your resume based on what you think this supervisor’s needs are which fit with the skills and expertise you have. The letter and resume are well written and you background compares favorable based on employee profiles. In your cover letter, you make a polite request for an informational interview or consideration for an open position. For an open position, you also submit your documents to HR beforehand. However, when you follow-up with an email or phone call, you get no response or a less than forthcoming response. They might briefly talk with you but they avoid providing you with any useful information:

1) Are there any openings?
2) Is my background competitive based on your expectations?
3) Would you seriously consider my application?
4) What are your requirements (i.e. skills, expertise, and competencies) for this position?

It is almost like they are playing games. They would encourage you to apply but will never let you know the answers to these questions. A no is never in their vocabulary and a candid answer is probably asking too much in their mind. Often, I don’t push it based on my feelings about their degree of candor or openness (or lack of). However, I am wondering whether my reaction to this situation is correct. This is where self-doubt creeps in and you wonder whether it is you. Then you take it personally when there is a no response versus a more candid and open response:

1) Thanks, we have no openings.
2) Thanks, we have no openings but I’ll consider it.
3) Thanks, we have no openings but I’ll consider it. You are qualified. Send an email in a few months. Maybe we will have an opening later.
4) Thanks, you aren’t qualified for any openings in this group
5) Thanks, I like your background and skills but I am looking for X.
6) Thanks, you are not qualified for any positions in this group and I don’t expect any openings soon.
7) Thanks, if you had X skills and competencies I would consider you.

These replies are answers that I have received previously in my job searching efforts. It takes only a few minutes to give a candid answer; even if you have a candidate like that in PG’s scenario, give an answer like this and they are most likely out of your hair. Most candidates are not going to pester you insistently but they don’t want to waste their time with a manager who will never consider them or even give you an honest answer. Even though I am disappointed by these answers, I can respect their candor versus the manager who says nothing informative or plays games. Only about 15% of the times, I will get a candid reply. Over the years (esp. post 2008; Great Recession), I have noticed more managers regrettably who feel no obligation to answer questions about openings no matter how well qualified the candidate is, how enthusiastic they are, or how politely they handle the request. In the past, I usually had no problems with networking. So, why am I not able to reach the 85% of all networking and/or job enquiries? These enquiries are about positions for which I am reasonably or well qualified. Then I thought it was my personality or demeanor but I have been active and successful in many volunteer activities within the local community. Thus, I would like to use this thread to breakdown this problem as a sales and communication challenge. Hopefully, with your participation I will find a solution to this problem. Maybe this will help another forum member.

Now, I am thinking that I am just afraid to network more assertively and to push back on objections. Further, maybe learning more about sales and marketing techniques would help me to reach the 85% of non-responders. As I have said before, I respect a candid answer versus silence and tend to pull back or take it negatively when I can’t reach someone or get a candid answer. Maybe I am looking at this problem all wrong; with a non-responder, we don’t have enough information to draw a reasonable conclusion. It could be the expertise of the candidate, it could be the communication skills of candidate, or it could a personality issue with the manager. Who knows at this point? After much reflection, I contend the problem is that the candidate must make assumptions about the needs and expectations of the hiring manager, which are often incorrect. Networking seems to be the only way a candidate can accurately understand what those real needs are. But if the manager is not receptive to such networking efforts, how do you get a job?

Presently, I am reading several sales books and communication books to see if I can implement certain strategies into my job search. To use the sales analogy here (i.e. the customer is the supervisor), I would guess that there are several stages to the sales process, appropriate for the job search, that are done in a certain order:

1) Engagement
2) Discovering the customer's needs and goals
3) Addressing the customer's needs and goals
4) Dealing with objections

PG's scenario is so obvious in what the candidate did wrong that it really doesn't apply. When networking and/or chasing down an open position, these stages appear to be required to get an interview. I say nonsense to those HR recruiters who say don't call (i.e. our managers) if you are interested in working at our company but who agree that networking is the key to finding a job. How can I tell if my background is consistent with the wants and needs of the customer; based on a well written job description by HR, really? Most likely the person who wrote the ad had to confer with the manager to clarify certain points or maybe he didn't. Or the job ad used was such a template that it nowhere near describes the skills, expertise, and/or needs of the supervisor accurately. I doubt the manager had any say in the writing of the ad. So, then (HR) internal recruiters go on social media like LinkedIn saying that applying online is the only way to a find job and downplaying the effectiveness of networking but also saying it is sometimes important (see Lou Alder blog and thread below). Which is it? Now you wonder why people don't come to HR or ask them any questions.

Thus, how do you find out and understand the needs of the supervisor accurately? Guess what, the only way to do this right is to network by calling or emailing (with the preference on emailing first with a resume or professional summary and then calling to warm that lead). I believe that to get a job interview you must go through these sales stages (1-4) and this can't be done by just sending in an application (i.e. cover letter and resume). But what if the prospective manager doesn’t want to participate, how do you engage this person. Based on my results of 85% non-responders, I think engagement is the hardest step of the process. However, I realize people can be irrational and emotional about jobs. Sales is an art form that deals with typical patterns of human behavior and helps alleviate the irrationality of human decisions.

Somehow when networking you need to engage the prospective manager such that you have gained their trust. This needs to done concisely and with the upmost respect for the manager’s time. I don’t have a good answer about how to this or some typical sale approaches to gain this trust of a prospective manager. If this is done correctly and you have gained that trust, the rest of the process will go smoothly often with little or no objections. I only have a few ideas based on my experiences which I will share. One needs to develop a brief script (< 5 min) that conveys who you are and what you are looking for professionally based on the background of the audience and possible shared interests. Look at their LinkedIn profile or biography if posted online, send them articles on topics which might interest them, smile into the phone when talking, always be polite, invite them for a career talk at the University, invite them for a luncheon at a Rotary or alumni meeting, or get the help of their administrative assistant. My goal here is to get them to talk shop about the profession and have them ask questions about my background. Gaining the trust of the prospective manager is the key to the process. Another successful strategy is getting referral from above your target and prospective manager. Have some near or in the C-suite provide you with a referral to someone in that organization who you can talk about X. This is how I got my last job when I wrote a nice letter to the CEO of a law firm with of about 100 employees. How can this be done at a company that is considerably larger (e.g. Biogen)? Ever since the Great Recession of 2007-2008 and 1% GDP since then, US professionals have cared more about themselves than helping anyone who might be unemployed, underemployed, or changing jobs. Perhaps, your understandable if things aren't going well in your career. This is probably the "real" reason why it has been so difficult gaining the trust of managers when networking (not the excuse I am busy; that's a common sales objection). Just to make my point with an analogy, when you are sick or not feeling good about some part of your life, like your career, do you care about helping others, probably not? Anybody have any ideas on engaging the 85% of non-responders?

A few points should be said about which managers you show identify as a person of interest. Start at the top and work your way down but don't go too high; try to use the referral from above strategy. Think a referral from the bottom gets noticed? Board members, investor relations, and public relations are great starting points who can get you the right introductions. I can't say enough about how invaluable a third party public relations firm is; make friends with these people! Don't start with friends or colleagues who work at that company or in the same field as well as don't talk with current company employees that might be considered your peers. Why? This is your competition. In a tight job market, are you going to help your competition; probably not, you probably want to send them elsewhere on a wild goose chase, especially if you don't know them that well? To be effective in your search, you need to talk with a manager who is in control of a budget and has the right level of authority. For a PhD or MS with some experience, start looking at the VP or director level trying to identify who runs X group. Call the operator if needed. Then start networking at this level.

By going to the top, most likely you eliminated any dysfunctional personalities (i.e. a sociopath). People in these positions are probably reasonable and well mannered. If they were jerks, they probably wouldn't have been promoted; they would know what it takes be promoted in terms of people skills. Thus, for the job candidate politely looking for information and a job, these managers are more likely to be receptive to a networking enquiry. I have found that the inexperienced or less senior manager is more likely be less receptive to the same networking enquiry. A further benefit by going to the top is that, if you gain the trust of this more senior manager, they are likely to make a hiring decision unilaterally without the opinions of others. Often that decision is more objective and transactional; based skills and expertise (vs personality traits) than the decision of the junior level manager. I don’t a good explanation for these observations. However, I have asked several senior executives that my family knows personally about this (e.g. former Nabisco COO for twenty years, the CEO of a major airlines, Executive VP at Cargill, COO at a major airline company). They agree with these observations and that networking is the right approach.

Once you have the face to face interview with the manager of interest and you have his trust, suppose now you are the good and inquisitive salesperson. I need to understand his what his hiring needs are and what goals he hopes to solve with this hire. If I know what his goals are, I can gain probably a good understanding of his problems and maybe some insights in how he wants to solve these problems. Since this forum is mostly concern about alternatives in the for-profit private sector, I’ll assume that every hire has a monetary component. In other words, how will this hire contribute to either increasing profits or saving the company money. So how do I get him to talk shop with me where he shares his experiences and asks me about my background. I say first do your homework about him, the group he leads, and the company. This way you are armed with some intelligent questions beforehand. Personally, I like to read the patents of the group, the SEC Edgar reports, business intelligence reports (if I can get them; sector or company), and any internal documents published by the company. Ask open ended questions to get him talking to where there is a mutual exchange of information. Show excitement and energy when talking. Compliment the manager if they have done something fascinating or remarkable. Then ask specific questions about the group and possible jobs if the conversation is going well. This may seem awkward and some inexperienced managers may not like this, especially if this meeting was arranged as an informational interview. However, most experienced managers will know that an “informational interview” is really a conversation about jobs and will steer the conversation towards jobs or careers anyway, if they have a good impression of your background. Also, experienced managers are more transactional with their hires where decisions are based more on competencies and expertise than personality traits versus behavioral attributes (e.g. work ethics or honesty). I can provide some examples of this and it only makes my point that one should start at the top. I am sure there are others sales approaches for determining the hiring needs and expectations of this manager at this stage of the sales process. At this point, you should have all the accurate information about this manager’s hiring needs, required skills, expertise, and competencies, as well as some understanding of the problems he is trying to solve with this hire; to make a good case for your candidacy. The third step of addressing the manager’s needs and goals is the easiest part of the process. Here you are trying to provide solutions for the customer’s needs given your background and skills.

By now, if successful, you have reached a point where you might receive some pushback or objections by the manager. The manager hopefully will express those concerns verbally rather than trying to close the conversation or by not being receptive to further discussion. I believe moment this is key point in the process and a lot depends on how well you established trust. Sometimes not obvious, the decision here is know when the customer “just hasn’t been sold” or has a legitimate concern. A cleaver salesperson will be able to dig out those objections and can easily recognize the typical excuses (i.e. the product is too expensive or I don’t have time). Excuses meaning reasons not to make a commitment that have nothing to do with you or the product you are selling, in this case that’s you. The intuitive salesperson will recognize these excuses and have ways to get at the heart of the matter. I am always amazed at how many interviews are not conducted like a sales presentation and negotiation (even for a sales job). However, job interviews are the same and same excuses are often given but rarely discussed in a job interview. If the customer “just hasn’t been sold” but he seems receptive to further discussion, I say continue selling with some thoughtful questions. I think there is a sales approach known as consulting selling that is helpful with this. This is where I am not the most skilled in these types of negotiations and dealing with objections. Often, I tend to shy away and sometimes become frustrated rather than defend my qualifications with an assertive and intelligent answer.

In this process of a finding job, which is akin to the sales process, we make inaccurate assumptions about the hiring needs and expectations of the manager. To get at the real hiring expectations and the problems facing the manager, one must network which requires more than submitting a resume to HR. Networking for a job is nothing more than a sales presentation and negotiation. Throughout this process, you are going to receive conflicting messages, which can be verbal or non-verbal in nature, and which has to be addressed to move foward. Unlike a sales presentation, managers more reluctant to talk about their concerns but these concerns are the same as the typical sales “excuses” which require further discussion to get at the real reason behind the excuse. When selling your yourself for a position, you are going to get these mixed messages which amounts to a hurdle to overcome and to do so a candidate might have to cleverly and politely push through these obstacles with a prospective manager to move forward with one’s candidacy. Unless the customer says no I am not interested and/or provides a candid answer, I would take the non-responder situation as a I am “just not sold yet" scenario.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140325 ... eader-card

This thread supports my observations about the negativity surrounding networking and how HR feels about the topic. I thought the ideas by Lou were good. To those critics of networking in this thread, I say how else do you find a good job; the odds of networking seem pretty good compared to anything else. HR don't be a hypocrite when you probably found your job by networking, right!


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