TAG | Career advice
The manner of the departure of striker, Robin Van Persie from Arsenal Football Club, did not endear him to every fan.
It was not so much his decision to leave but a public announcement in July and implied criticisms of the strategy of a team that was so supportive to him over many years. It is thought that he recently had a change of heart but his manager, Arsene Wenger informed him that he was no longer part of any plans for the club. Van Persie (who did have one good injury free season) might learn that he is not indispensable.
There are two things that Mr Van Persie should have avoided: Firstly, a public comment that suggested he disagreed with their strategy whilst he was still employed by them. Secondly, it appears that he made public his decision not to renew his contract before he was 100% sure about leaving. This is never a good idea. If you are looking for better pay or conditions, then have this discussion first.
Are you considering moving on from your current role? Be positive and proactive. Take time to discuss any concerns with your current employer and see if there could be a resolution. If, however, you have made your decision to leave, then do so with dignity. Take the time to resign, calmly, in person, show respect and have the courage to stick to your decision after having made it.
There is a lesson that Van Persie teaches us – how not to resign.
Dave Brailsford the director sportif/team principle of Team Sky reportedly said that ‘During the races, nothing is left to chance. You can have all the best bike technology, your own mattresses and pillows, your own chef, the best team buses and medical backup, the best mechanics, but ultimately the thing I have learned is that a rider cannot compete for the yellow jersey unless he is supremely fit and conditioned for the job.’
Being conditioned for the job means that every interview you attend or recruitment process you go through, whether that be with your recruitment consultant, first round with a client, interview preparation with your consultant or even a final round informal lunch or drinks needs to be an exercise in precision, team work, preparation and ultimately must be treated as the last opportunity to WIN the job.
In a more challenged market with hiring volumes down year on year coupled with ‘rightsizing’ of businesses globally, the steps you take and the clinical approach to your next career move are more crucial than they have ever been.
Here are my top tips to getting the best out of the process:
- Understand the role you are interviewing for – Can you honestly say that the last interview you went to you fully understood the role before you entered the interview room? No?….well my advice would be to interrogate your consultant – any recruiter worth their salt will know the role, the team, the culture, the career path and what isn’t written on the job description. It is the hidden aspects of the role which are invariably the most important or need most focus. If they don’t have time to, maybe it is time to find one who does!
- Prepare your answers fully – As career advisors, our role in the process is to evaluate you, your interview style, your answers and provide constructive feedback on these answers. Be prepared to hear things that you might not like to hear. Remember preparation does not mean being prescriptive as interviewers see through stock answers straight away, be natural but confident.
- Ask the interviewer questions – Intelligent, thorough questioning of your interviewer will demonstrate that you are ambitious, serious about your career, looking for a company to develop yourself in as well as demonstrating excellent communications skills. Don’t be afraid to have in depth discussions around a topic or share your views, all managers want and will respect individuals who can think and bring new well thought out ideas to the table.
- Sell your value proposition – What do you specifically bring to the table over and above the candidates that you are competing against? What have you actually achieved in your career that demonstrates that you are someone who is developing and will continue to develop? Are you self critical in terms of your own ability? What have you heard in the interview that further enhances your interest and desire for this career with this organisation?
- Turn up fresh – I’m not suggesting that you need your favorite pillow, mattress and duvet like the Tour De France guys but sleep (in excess of 7-9 hours is generally recommended), eat and drink well before the meeting, turn up on time and ensure you have enough time for the meeting even if it goes on for that extra 30 minutes you haven’t allocated for.
Following these will not guarantee you the top spot on the podium in Paris but they will help you to get a far as you possible can in your quest for a new career.
Good Luck and go Wiggo!
Ally is defined as a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose. In recruitment, job seekers and recruiters must realise they share the same goal, finding a dream job or filling a vacancy, like an ally should be.
On a daily basis, recruiters like myself ask job seekers questions like:
- What is your expected salary?
- Where have you been interviewing for the past 12 months?
- What kind of roles are you ideally looking for?
- What is your short and long term career development plan?
And the list goes on and on. But does anyone know the true reason why we ask questions like the above?
The ultimate goal for job seekers is to find a position where there is higher pay, wider job exposure/scope, promotion, better team dynamics, management responsibility, etc. However, professionals that come to us tend to be quite reluctant to tell us the full picture and all of their desires and expectations.
To be frank, it is impossible for recruiters to make assumptions for all professionals that come forth to look for a job. They should come to understand that recruiters do not know everything about you and in order for us to assist in looking for what you want, it is important to have an open and transparent dialogue.
Once the mutual ground is set, it is our task as recruiters to introduce you the right opportunity where your expectations and wants are met and for us, work accomplished!
Chinese whispers: “When information is verbally passed from person to person, it inevitably gets distorted and exaggerated and the new form moves towards becoming the norm”
Multiple studies show that an average person speaks between 2000 to 7000 words per day. As information is relayed from one person to the next, it is regularly distorted and exaggerated from its origin, oral ‘mis-transmission’ occurs.
As a recruitment consultant, I come across this on a regular basis…
Recruitment consultant: “…so, having discussed about your experience and what sort of roles you are looking for, I believe that you will be a strong fit for this role at company X.”
IT professional: “I don’t think I’ll consider this…I “heard” that Company X is terrible.”
Recruitment consultant: “Can you tell me more about “what you have heard”?”
IT professional: “Well, I heard from an ex-colleague that has a friend who knows someone that works at Company X and they said that the manager there is really straight talking and the company is a bit so so…”
When considering a career move, your first step may be to sound out the market from people you know, i.e. alumni, ex-colleagues etc. this is when the opinions of others form your first impression on industries, companies or roles. Are the opinions of others enough to decide on whether you are interested in a role?
When people look for a new job opportunity, the reasons behind it may be very different; it may be for a better career path, new exposure; a change of environment, the list goes on. So when one says a job is “not right” for them, this may not necessarily mean that it’s not right for you.
So when an opportunity arises, never refuse it because of “what you have heard”. Listening to rumours about working for a company is not ideal, depending on the source they may be inaccurate comments. Find out more details, ask questions and decide for yourself otherwise you never know if you have just missed out on your dream job!
Recruitment is not only about what a company is looking for in an employee but also about what you are looking for in an employer.
The market is very tough now and competition is extremely high between professionals for a smaller pool of jobs. Our colleague Justin Kamihara from the Tokyo office discusses why job seekers should keep an open mind when seeking job opportunities.
To read more, click here.
A week ago, no-one had heard of Jeremy Lin. Since then he has electrified the NBA with his inspirational play and has become a media sensation and a fan favourite. The Jeremy Lin phenomenon continues to grow and has far reaching effects outside of the sports world.
Barely recruited after high school, Lin went on to Harvard and remained unnoticed by NBA teams after college. Undrafted and in his second professional season in the NBA, he was cut by two other teams before being offered a non-guaranteed contract by the New York Knicks. Due to injuries to teammates, he has recently been given the opportunity to play and has excelled.
As I write this, Lin has led the New York Knicks to an amazing and improbable six game winning streak. He has embraced and maximised his opportunity to play, going from being an afterthought on the team to becoming the starting point guard for the Knicks. He has single handedly turned their season around.
Recently, after Lin had beaten and out-scored NBA legend Kobe Bryant; Kobe had the following to say:
“It’s a great story. It’s a testament to perseverance and hard work. I am sure he has put in a great deal of work to always have that belief in himself, now he has the opportunity to show it.”
In the work place, opportunity can present itself in many forms – getting a promotion; a position opening up when a colleague leaves; an overseas assignment, or simply taking on more responsibilities and duties above and beyond your current role.
Take a long hard look around your workplace – for those in management positions, is there a Jeremy Lin in our midsts who is a star in the making?
You never know when you may get that opportunity, but when you do – it’s your chance to step up like Jeremy Lin and to embrace it. At times we feel that we are not given the opportunity to shine, however be patient; continue to work hard and you will be given a shot when you least expect it. When that opportunity does come up, grab it as you never know when it may come around again.
Until next time!
Our colleague Anthony Truchot from the Tokyo office looks into how to survive in a tough market, providing you with tips for what you can do during this difficult time.
To read more, click here
We recently witnessed history in the making: an epic Australian Open tennis final. Novak Djokovic outlasted Rafael Nadal in the longest ever men’s singles grand slam final lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes. The lead changed numerous times throughout the match and remained dead-locked until the fifth set, where the game remained in the balance. Earlier on in the final set, Djokovic seemed down and out as he lay flat on his back after losing an exhausting point to Nadal. Eventually however, Djokovic won through.
“You’re in pain, you’re suffering, you know that you’re trying to activate your legs, you’re trying to push yourself another point, just one more point, one more game,” Djokovic said after the match.
“You’re going through so much suffering your toes are bleeding. Everything is just outrageous, you know, but you’re still enjoying that pain.”
What gave Djokovic the edge over Nadal? Arguably they are equals from a physical talent perspective and both have the necessary experience and drive to win.
I believe the answer is mental toughness. Djokovic had a career best year in 2011 and a lot of experts put that down to his increased mental strength and resilience.
On a daily basis, we all come up against unexpected issues and problems in both work and our personal lives. When the going gets tough, giving up or quitting is the easy way out. Those who are able to repeatedly pick themselves up after set-backs and duress will only get stronger through the experience. In my experience, people who have been able to push through and persevere in tough times have been more successful when compared to peers in their industry.
The year of the dragon will be a challenging year career wise for a lot of us, so those who can display mental fortitude will put themselves into the best possible position to thrive.
Until next time.
It is common amongst job seekers to feel that every time you move jobs you have to make a move upwards, especially in terms of job title. However, a lateral move can sometimes be one of the best ways to develop your knowledge and experience and ultimately lead you to that managerial position.
Other factors to consider are: the size of the organisation, team structure, line management and how the role interacts with the business. All of these elements play a big part in your development and will change when you move to a new organisation and environment.
I assisted a candidate with a lateral move and it was a good example of how successful this type of career shift can be. The candidate in question had begun her career with a small firm which gave her a great opportunity to learn the logistics of an HR team and build a solid foundation of HR knowledge. However, after four years she felt she was ready for more but was not yet ready for a HR manager role. Therefore, she made the proactive decision to move to a much larger organisation and HR team where she was able to expand her knowledge base. After two years in that HR advisor role she felt 100% confident to move up the ladder to HR manager and felt that she had made the move at the right time.
I encourage professionals to consider that career progression is not always defined as a salary increase or a change in job title. More importantly, it can be an opportunity to develop your skills and get more exposure in different areas of your field, or even working within a more established or more commercial team.
In December I had a call from a distressed individual that I had been expecting:
“Damian, you were right after all.”
‘What do you mean?’ I replied, knowing full well what the situation would be.
“Two months ago you told me that if I accepted my boss’s counter offer I would regret it within six months. I regret it now.”
“I’ve been told I won’t be eligible for a pay review this year because I had my pay increase back in October. I have also come to realise that the board of directors is no longer involving me in their key decisions, it is as if I have been sidelined.”
I listened sympathetically.
“Damian, how did you know that this was going to happen? I was convinced that things were going to be different. My boss sat down and told me how important I was to this organisation and that he was going to increase my salary to match my new offer. It seemed as though it would be disloyal to leave him at that stage.”
I have seen this happen again and again. People make disastrous decisions after they have resigned because of flattery, vague promises and sudden pay rises.
The fact is: smart people are counter-offered when they resign from a role. They take this as a confirmation of their value but politely and firmly reject it.
If you are in this situation, ask yourself the following ten questions:
- What do you think the real reasons are for your company to retain you for the time being?
- It took your resignation for your boss to pay you what you are worth. Were you being underpaid before? How about now?
- Was money the only reason why you resigned or are there other underlying issues?
- What do you think might happen when your annual pay review comes up?
- Once you resign, might your boss be buying time while he recruits someone else?
- If you resign but later change your mind, what does this say about your loyalty or ability to make decisions?
- Your loyalty will be questioned and you may no longer be trusted – how will this impact your influence within the organisation?
- When it is time to make promotions, would those seen as less loyal be passed by?
- If an economic downturn or a fall in revenue necessitates staff cuts, who might be the first in the firing line?
- I have seen the majority of people who accept counter-offers leave their jobs within six months. Will you be different?
Think carefully before resigning but when you do, have the courage of your convictions – otherwise your recruiter will be waiting in a month or two for the inevitable call.