Your job search can take much longer than necessary–if you do what the Seattle Mariners once did one day in August 2001. The Mariners had jumped out to a 12-0 lead after just three innings. Doubtless, they relaxed a bit and started to coast. Maybe they started thinking about where they would have dinner or who they would play the next day. The game was over.
“Not so fast!” said the Cleveland Indians. They kept chipping away at the Mariners’ lead. They scored three runs in the seventh, added four in the eighth, and then five more in the ninth. Before the Mariners knew what hit them, the game was tied. The Indians won 15-14 in eleven innings.
People start to coast in job search too—and it often costs them.
Our client Dean came to a coaching meeting one day, elated over his good fortune. He’d talked to an old boss who desperately wanted him back. Plus, he’d interviewed with a vice president at one of his target companies. Bam! He’d hit every interview question out of the park. He and this boss really hit it off.
After congratulating him on his good progress, I asked him about what else he was doing to further his search.
“Nothing. I’m as good as hired. I’m going to take some time off, kick back and wait for the offers to come in.
Continue your job search in earnest
I strongly advised Dean not to take time off, but to continue his search in earnest. But he was confident that his job search was over, and disregarded my advice. Dean, like most of us, would rather stick needles in his eyes than undertake job search activities. So, so if a good excuse to stop presents itself, why not?
Unfortunately, a lot of people find that easing up is very expensive.
So it was with Dean. It turns out that his former company had recently put in place a new hiring policy. It forbade rehiring someone who had left the company more than once. Dean had two previous stints with the company, and his former boss told him, “Sorry, I didn’t even know about that policy. I can’t hire you.”
“No problem,” Dean thought. “The other company will surely hire me.” But as it turned out, an internal candidate applied for the job. Company policy gave preference to the internal candidate. The boss apologized profusely, telling Dean that he liked him much better than the guy he had to hire.
An apology and a couple of dollars will get you a cup of coffee.
Starting the job search over
This was a huge letdown for Dean. He said it felt like he had to start at square one again. He wasn’t really, but it sure felt like it.
Just so you know, this isn’t at all unusual. As they say, “Stuff Happens.” This is especially true in the hiring process. Here are just a few things that can—and do—happen.
1) The employer may find a candidate who she sees as a better fit for the job.
2) Some preferred candidate comes into the picture: the owner’s nephew or even the boss’s mistress.
3) The economy hits a rough spot or the CFO disappears with a pile of loot, and the hiring budget disappears.
4) Your prospective boss can’t make up his mind, and you’re left dangling in the wind.
5) Many other things are possible. I’m sure you can think of a couple.
Persistence wins the job search game
Don’t do this to yourself. Keep going until you pass the finish line. Instead of being satisfied with one offer, set an ambitious goal. Maybe you could try to get three or four offers.
Having a coach or an accountability partner can be very helpful to keep you moving. But whatever you do, don’t go to sleep when success feels within your grasp. You may wind up like the Seattle Mariners.
Just common sense? Maybe so. But it’s easy to make common sense mistakes in job search. Want to talk about how you might avoid expensive mistakes? Contact us.