31 March 2016

Candidate or Cattle?

One of the super fun parts about a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) is leaving an amazing job and income behind to start over. Yes. That is sarcasm.

I don't have a vast amount of experience with civilian hiring practices. I've been in the Army for 13 years (20030403), and I've worked for the federal government. The hiring process for the federal govt. is pretty strict. Your resume has to be filtered through many many levels of sediment before it ever reaches a hiring managers desk. The process can take weeks and sometimes months. The civilian side? You never know where your next opportunity might come from, so let's talk about my most recent adventures.

I recently applied for a position with a firm looking for leadership in their training department. I recieved a call for an interview, scheduled and confirmed. Now to prep. Resume? Check. Outfit? Check.  Research Firm/Principals? Check.

Show up for the interview, to find seven other people sitting the lobby.. three more out front smoking. 

No one wants to admit that we are all cogs in a giant machine of life. However, it is the truth. For every skill, trait or quality you think you posses there are ten other candidates out there who wrote the same thing on their resume. I'm sure this is why most interviews start out with "Tell us a little about yourself"... meanwhile you're thinking {did you read the little bit about myself I wrote in my Resume/Cover Letter}... no, they didn't. Someone down in HR somewhere read it and saw the magic words that the program manager asked for and called you. Taahhh Daaahhh - Interview. You and everyone else with the same magic words are now sitting in the lobby of a building in your best "I'm serious, but not too serious, but you should take me seriously in a I'm totally fun to work with but can get serious if needed" outfit; waiting for your name to be called by the receptionist who's being entirely too formal with her boss which just adds a layer of comedic orthodoxy to the whole process . I know all of this because I was the secretary who was calling my boss Mr. Boss when usually I yelled from across the office "Hey, Bob you wanna bagel?" (I'm pretty sure there are some obscene run on sentences in the paragraph above - it'll be ok grammar freaks - it is just a blog)

So, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you go from "ahhh I got and interview" to "oh, so did 25 other people"; basically from Moooooo to MEEEEE!!!!

Wait for it. This is big. BE YOURSELF. TELL THE TRUTH. Yes, this is all coming from someone who two paragraphs above said "I'm not familiar with civilian hiring practices"... keep reading. Drink your coffee and keep reading.

Today's job market is flooded with qualified applicants. Many have a college degree, some have decades of military or professional experience, some have both; but credentials, skills and qualifications are not the ONLY things to be considered when sitting on the candidate side of the table.

Have you interviewed yourself yet?

What are your priorities in life?
What are you hoping to get out of this opportunity?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Are you competitive?
Do you need public recognition for a job well done? 
What is your greatest weakness?

When you are in that conference room - try to remember your answers to the above. Do not deviate from who you are hoping they'll pick you. The fact is they will see through the canned answer, and keep looking. Live your life and invest in your happiness. Employers are looking for the right person, and you should be looking for the RIGHT business for YOU!

If your family is a priority - be honest about that. You do NOT want to work for someone who loves their job more than their kids. There is no monetary amount that can make up for a work place that is supportive of your priorities and affords you balance.

If you thrive on competition - share your excitement for a performance based system or pay scale. If you find yourself in a time based pay schedule you'll be frustrated that you work at 110% and Joe works at 45% and yet you promote at the same rate.

If you are shuffling through life just hoping someone will push you along in the right direction? You're part of the herd.

If you are honest with yourself.
If you are firm in your priorities.
If you are clear on your character.

You will be a candidate.

Gotta get moo-ving for my second interview!

XO XO & Stuff,


(see what I did there? moo-ving? ha ha ha ha)

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