My wild week, in review

It has been a dizzying week for me.

It started late last week when I finally got an e-mail from the HR group of the chief competitor of my last employer for a position I have posted for twice, beginning January 26th! As mentioned in a previous e-mail, for jobs I really like, or that I am perfectly qualified for, I apply using different e-mail addresses (as this is how most sites seem to know if you have already applied and then went let you re-apply).

Anyway, we set up the conversation for today at 2:00, and then other HR departments started to call and e-mail asking to set up phone interviews. In total, I have have been contacted for nine different jobs since late last week! That means buffing up on my interview questions, job descriptions, researching the companies, etc. It is a lot of prep work! On top of that, my brother-in-law from Scotland arrived on Sunday for two nights as he was in the area on business. So, I had to prepare the house for his stay and then spend a good portion of Sunday and Monday entertaining him, etc. When it rains…!

So, the recap of the interviews has been a bit mixed. The first interview this week was for a company that makes cases for handheld devices for iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, etc. It is one of these places where you can bring your dog to work, everybody is young and free-thinking, and they ‘have fun at work’. Sounds great, right? They were founded in 2006 and are still very much in start-up mode. I can assure you of this after speaking to the Sr. VP of Operations who is about 32 (I can tell from his LinkedIn profile) and from the questions he asked me it was apparent that he was quite naive about a lot of processes and metrics that are in place at established organizations and may seem very boring and ‘old school’ to him but will be absolutely essential for them to measure performance (of individuals and the company) and be successful.

I think some of these younger companies/people just see the sales ringing up and think that it will just continue to be that way, then of course things plateau and if you don’t know where or how you are making or losing money…well, you know how that goes. I could be wrong, they may be better prepared than I am giving them credit for, but I wouldn’t know for sure as he ended the phone call without allowing me to ask any questions. That in itself is another example of naivety as 1) it didn’t leave me with a good impression of him or his interviewing technique, 2) if your interested in a candidate you need to show respect, not arrogance, and offer them so time, 3) candidate questions can be extremely insightful as to how the person thinks and they can lead to interesting discussion.

Today, I had three phone screens for four different jobs. Two are obviously at the same company, one role is in Atlanta and the other in Connecticut. The other two jobs are in Denver and the greater L.A. area. I suspect that I will get call backs from all three companies.

This morning I also returned a call to a recruiter about a job on Long Island. We decided that was a ‘no go’ as there were some qualifications that I don’t possess and would be show-stoppers with the employer (Deirdre, you know who this is). Tomorrow I will need to call back a different recruiter and an HR rep for a major network in Atlanta and an HR recruiter at a company in Ohio.

I’m tired! It is a lot of work to prep and keep all of this stuff straight in your head and then have the happy, smiley voice and talk yourself up for 30 minutes, numerous times. Phew!

I still have not been contacted by the two cosmetics companies in NY which remains a mystery to me as I am perfectly qualified for those positions and have worked in cosmetics before (and for one of their brands, before they acquired it!). So, this week my tactic on them was to google what I figured the title of my boss would be and sure enough I found these people on LinkedIn in a matter of minutes so I sent them hard copy résumés. We’ll see if that works! It was a hefty investment to buy really nice, heavy stock paper to send those résumés, too! I also took this approach to another job I had applied for in the greater NY area, for are a major French couture fashion house known particularly for their highly recognizable women’s bouclé suits and “numbered” perfumes.

For anyone out there that may be reading this and feel discouraged about the ‘big black hole’ of posting for jobs on the internet I share your pain! But you have to do it! All the jobs I have interviewed for so far have been through internet postings and only one of them was spurred by contacting someone I knew at the company ahead of time to help nudge my résumé under the nose of someone in HR. The odds are rough, no doubt, but it is not a hopeless effort!

I have heard Charlie, my career coach, mention several times that the internet is not the way to go and that it is all about networking. That is all well and good when the job is local and/or you have a connection, but it annoys me to hear him say that the internet is a hopeless approach to finding a job. I think it simply reflects better on the outplacement office, and their value, when they can point to networking because the odds are definitely stacked in that direction so it makes them look really clever, “See! Told ya!” I am not denying that having an inside connection is overwhelmingly valuable and, as I said, that the odds of getting interviewed are greater if you can network, but you can get it done via the internet, too. I will also admit that I know someone at three of the companies that I am juggling right now; as mentioned, I did contact one of them and he proactively contacted HR for me, but I have yet to drop the names of the other two individuals, so they have had NO influence on me being contacted. I will be sure to use their names somewhere in the process, though, I mean “duh” I’m not stupid!

I like Charlie, but his help on my résumé was weak and he has told me that I am the only person he knows that has had success with the internet. That flat out cannot be true, maybe I am the only one that has given him feedback that the internet does work (slowly and sparingly, but it does), and I assume that people that keep hearing that networking is the only way to land a job just stop going into his office. I suppose I would do that, too, if I wasn’t using their printer and paper and their industrial size hole-puncher!!!

Oh well! Tomorrow is another day!

About Sophia la Vespa

Seattle by Vespa!
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