I am privileged in occasionally being commissioned to find new Managers and other senior staff for various commercial businesses, especially those without an in-house HR Department. Although the job description may be established, there are occasions when the position is new due to expansion or reorganisation.
I go to great lengths to establish the exact nature of the person the client is seeking, ensuring that the job description is written in such a way to attract suitable candidates, including deciding and agreeing where and how and where to advertise the position and conduct interviews, usually off-site in the first stages.
I am not running an Employment Agency, conducting everything on a bespoke basis, using my knowledge of fifty years working in the industry to try and install the ‘right person for the right job’. I emphasise that I take care to ensure that every aspect of the commission is in place, and arrangements are made to enable me to make any research necessary to be conducted in a discreet and thorough manner.
Having chosen the advertising medium and agreed terms, I prepare for an almost immediate response, such is the power of modern communications. As the positions I try to fill are all high profile, with salaries and benefits to match, the number of applications is always numerous, sometimes well over one hundred prospective candidates applying for the job.
Yet, so many would-be applicants do not carry out any research on the position at all! It almost seems that some people are permanently thinking about changing their job, or suddenly become aware that a high salary prospective has arisen, and they simply push the ‘send’ button on their lap-top thereby releasing a c.v that is out of date, which does not particularly relate to the position on offer. If you are thinking about changing your job, keep your details and achievements up to date.
Once this act has taken place, there is no going back. No chance for regret and wishing you had read the advert more carefully, weighing up the unsaid words hidden in the terms and description of the job.
This lack of forethought can be readily rectified. Instead of rushing into action, check out the deadline date for entries, and ensure that you meet that date comfortably. Read and reread the wording. Establish if the position is one that you really want to try for. Some people seem to respond to every opening, and those recipients of your constant mass applications will simply dismiss your name as soon as they see it appear.
Research your potential employer and site of work
Research the job and find out everything you possibly can about the site. If it is for a Production Manager at a grower establishment, find out what they grow, what they have grown in the past, what methods they use to cultivate and market their products. How many staff, what is their staff turnover, how are they viewed as a company by the industry?
Do they have an established career path potential? How many Directors, who are they? How long have they been involved in the business? Are they family members or outsiders who have joined the Board?
There is so much information that you can gather by research, both on-line and by talking with others. If you are still interested in joining the firm, rewrite your c.v. to weight it in favour of the prospective job. You cannot alter your background, but you can emphasise and highlighted certain aspects, including specialised market knowledge and resources that may make you very attractive to the person reading the c.v. Remember, you will be one of many, and if you can make your offering stand out above others, you will not go straight into the waste bin!
You have to grab and hold the attention of a human being, someone who is trawling through hundreds of sheets of emailed paper, all of which look pretty much the same as the rest! I have written in the past concerning the paucity of knowledge in the art of creating an attractive persona and understanding of the interview process.
Through various media, I frequently receive requests for advice at a personal level, and whilst I am pleased to help if I can, the most useful advice I can give to anyone is to be totally open and honest, both in your application and when answering interview questions.
Bear in mind that you will have been ‘researched’ and found to be of interest before you are invited to the initial interview. It is the nature of the commission that I have to check out all information set before me, and there is no reason to embellish or bury any part of your previous career. Everybody has highs and lows, and sometimes employers and employees do not get along together.
It is often held that someone who has been working for too many years at one establishment may have become ‘institutionalised’ and unsuited to a new place. It is also commonly claimed that too many jobs, each lasting only months or a few years before leaving and seeking pastures new is a sign of a transient employee. If a career path has been progressive, each position being more challenging and rewarding than the last one, it may be considered a positive thing. However, if you are working towards a goal, being honest with the interviewer will help you achieve that dream.
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