Speed Employers Up!

Job seekers spend too much time complaining about the things that slow hiring processes down and not enough time focusing on what speeds them up. Sure, companies may have internal limitations applying the brakes at times, but what motivates decision makers to conquer those limitations sooner than later? I’ll tell you what doesn’t, a candidate who appears to have no other options and who is likely to languish for as long as it takes them to get their ducks in a row.

It comes down to demand. Employers are just like the rest of us when it comes to shopping. They make quicker decisions when they have the sense taking too long will cause them to miss out on something special. Think of the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving. Ever watch buyers shoving expensive merchandise in their carts without much scrutiny? Do you think they’d move as quickly if there weren’t 400 hundred fellow shoppers waving credit cards and elbowing the less fit out of the way? Probably not. If they had all the time in the world and the price would likely go down the longer they waited, what reason would there be to rush? Unless there was a strong, immediate need for the item, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to put off making the purchase and, perhaps, explore what other options might be available.

So, job seekers must do what they can to give employers the sense they aren’t the only one in the store. How do you do that? It starts with the tone set at the very beginning. Ideally, you’ve networked yourself to a position and created a nice buzz around you that reached the employer’s desk ahead of your resume. It’s a safe assumption if your buzz reached them, it’s reaching other decision makers too.

Buzz aside, how you handle the “we’d like to schedule a time for you to interview” call can make a big difference. I cringe every time a job seeker tells me, “pick a time that works for you…my schedule is wide open.” It’s great to be accommodating, but having a wide open schedule screams, “take your time…nobody wants me!” When a potential employer asks what days and times would work for interviews for you, give them options, noting times your schedule is full. Leave them wondering with what. For example, “Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday morning work well. The afternoons, as well as Thursday, are full. I may be able to move some meetings and appointments around to suit your schedule, however.” It’s subtle, but changing how you deal with setting an interview time can make a big difference. Now, if your schedule really is wide open, that’s another problem for you to fix. Fill it with something. Whether it’s networking, trainings, seminars, informational interviews or volunteer work doesn’t matter. Doing nothing will get you nothing.

Another way to create a sense of demand around you is to insert discreet references to other opportunities through the course of the interview. One example, “Companies I’m meeting with are talking a lot about how they want to incorporate social media into their business model. If that’s true for you, I can share what I’ve learned of the various social media applications in past positions and through my job search.” Another example, “Technology upgrades seem to be on the agenda of many I’m meeting with. If it would benefit you, I’d be happy to share my experience with software conversions.” These types of references allow you to highlight marketable skills while also hinting the employer is hardly your only option.

At the end of the interview, after you’ve had your chance to ask strategic questions, I personally think it’s wise to close with a solid statement of interest in the position that also reinforces potential competition for what you have to offer. “Thank you for the time you gave today. After taking in all of the information, your position is definitely in the top 3 of what I’m currently considering. What potentially makes this my top choice is (insert). My interest in the job is high and I’d enjoy the opportunity to continue in the process.” It doesn’t matter to me if the other two opportunities you are considering at the moment are mopping bathroom floors and weeding flower beds. The point is, the job you are considering at that moment is at or near the top of your list and it’s a good move, in my opinion, to make that known in a way that doesn’t sound like that employer is winning by default.

Do what you can to give employers the sense you are in demand. It really can speed things up. I once had a job seeker push back with, “maybe the company won’t think I need their job as bad as someone else does if I have other options.” Not true. You want to know which candidates I’ve found to get the fastest offers? Those who already have offers from other companies and are giving their top choice a chance to throw an offer in the hat as well. It’s my personal experience, especially when we are talking jobs that pay more than minimum wage, companies rarely hire based on the job seeker’s needs. I might take on someone to clean my house based on his need of a job, but I’m not going to make a decision involving a $50,000 salary commitment that way.

1 Comment

  • David Brooks says:

    Good information Lisa. One thing that I’ve learned being in sales is never having an open schedule and always give a choice of times to meet. Of course nothing always works so its important to keep trying different ideas.

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