Does this title resonate with you? If so, it’s probably because you’re either looking for a job or recently spoke to a candidate that is really frustrated by how long they’ve been looking. In either case, it makes complete sense for someone who has been out of work for a while to be feeling frustrated, angry, hopeless or depressed.
Let’s start with a candidate scenario. While trying to find the perfect candidate, you come across a beautiful resume. You get the person on the phone, and all you feel is their pain, frustration and apathy. In fact, they sound so helpless that you don’t even want to present them, and you’re genuinely conflicted about what you should (or should not) do. You should do that with which you are most comfortable, although I do have some suggestions to help you with your decision.
When you get them on the phone and hear their tone of voice, make a mental note of it - or even jot down on your notebook: depressed, apathetic, or whatever it is that you are sensing from them. When you get to the part where you’re discussing their background and their resume shows they’ve been out of work for 16 months, try to hold off from asking the typical question about what they’ve been doing. It’s a recession and they’ve been working their ass off to get a job and provide for their family. The competition is fierce!
How about acknowledging and validating the candidate’s feelings by commenting that you realize it is a recession and that it’s really tough to get a job these days. Then you could say something like, “Well, hopefully I could help you out. As I look at your resume and this job description, it looks as though this could potentially be a great opportunity for you.” Then you could talk to the candidate more about the job, the commute, the compensation, and see if it all adds up and makes sense to them. Once they’ve indicated that they are interested, you could say something like, “How would it feel to have this job making x number of dollars with a 20 minute commute by the end of this month?”
Next you could tell the candidate that of course you can’t promise an interview or an offer ,as you’re not the decision maker. Suggest that you would like to collaborate to do everything we can to make an interview happen, and for you to land the job. Chances are the candidate will be eager to collaborate with you. You then could go through the resume and the job description, and ask them if they have any of the skills that are mentioned in the job description but not on the resume. If the answer is yes, then suggest that they add those things to their resume and send it back to you. Upon receiving the updated resume, tell them what a great job they did and that they are being presented. Lastly, cross your fingers, pray, hope and do whatever you need to do to get them an interview without breaking any laws or moral code.
Hopefully, within a week the client gets back to you or your sales rep requesting an interview. When you contact the candidate the first thing you want to do is congratulate them, and then get their availability. Ask them if they are willing to have a prep conversation the day before the interview. When you have the opportunity to speak with them the day prior to the interview, you want to help them release their anger and frustration for being out of work so long. The reason for this is that even though they have every right to feel this way, the last thing that you want the candidate to portray on an interview is that he or she is a victim, angry, and bitter. Remind candidates of how they feel about being unemployed and then ask them to let go of those feelings. Tell them to think about the opportunity they have tomorrow and how great it would be to land that job. Tell them to think about that again just prior to the interview – maybe even write a journal entry about how great it would be. Finally, review the job description one last time, and their resume, and tell them, “According to your resume and this background, you are a great fit for this position. You deserve this position, as you would be a great asset to this client’s team and you could hit the ground running.” Ask them if they agree. Once they do, tell them that they are now ready to get the job they deserve and wish them luck.
Now what if you’re a recruiter and you are the one looking for a job? You have a leg-up on how to network and get your resume looking right and how to get interviews. If not, you may want to read my earlier blog on “7 steps to finding a job.” Otherwise, reread what I’ve written and apply it to yourself. In a nutshell, forgive yourself for being angry about the situation, make a conscious decision to do something about it, and then go get ‘em!