During my visits to workforce development centers and on-campus career education workshops, I was appalled to discover that job-seekers are coached to navigate whatever obstacles an employer arbitrarily places in their path, even if it means crawling over metaphorical piles of broken glass.
Directors of Workforce Development Centers confided in me, closing their office doors to share a disheartening truth:
“Our primary task here is to impart outdated job-search techniques to individuals who feel hopeless. We guide people in applying for jobs using methods that are two decades old, and to compound the issue, many of the positions our clients believe they’re qualified for no longer exist.“
In the United States, we compensate individuals who are unemployed to await a check while seated on the couch. This is scandalous.
Rather than fostering self-reliance, we inadvertently encourage people to atrophy by not challenging them to explore new opportunities and continually strengthen themselves.
The flawed career development paradigm we impart to employees and job-seekers perpetuates the notion that a job-seeker is insignificant, while an employer is formidable.
We’re misled into thinking job-seekers are abundant and expendable, which is untrue.
As a former corporate HR leader, I witnessed department managers grappling with the scarcity of qualified individuals.
I’m not referring to elusive ‘purple squirrel‘ candidates with numerous certifications and esoteric skills. I mean individuals who are adaptable, open-minded, possess higher order and critical thinking skills, embrace new challenges, and enjoy solving substantial problems.
Such individuals are truly rare to find!
In light of this, it’s crucial to delve into 5 Job-Search Truths Nobody Tells Job-Seekers, shedding light on the often overlooked realities of the contemporary job market.
1. Job-seekers are more qualified than they think
The biggest job-search truth nobody tells job-seekers is that they are more qualified than they percieve. Qualifications are inherent in individuals, not confined to degrees or past job titles.
Each job undertaken, along with experiences beyond the workplace, has contributed to personal growth, and no one can strip away that acquired knowledge.
Job advertisements are often constructed in a way that leads job-seekers to ponder, ‘How many living people could possibly meet these qualifications? Perhaps seven?‘
We empathize because most job ads are unrealistic.
I used to challenge my department managers, asking, ‘Between us, who decides which half of these Essential Requirements we discard before publishing the job ad? I only recruit for roles that living individuals can fulfill.’
While I appreciate humor, I am earnest about omitting extensive lists of Essential Requirements from job ads.
Any adept recruiter understands that if a job ad repels talented individuals, the search is already doomed.
2. Job-seekers can confidently apply for jobs if they possess 50% of the required qualifications
The second big truth nobody tells job-seekers is that they can confidently apply for any job if they possess fifty percent of the specified qualifications.
Employers won’t find candidates with all listed requirements, especially not within the salary constraints they hope to impose on themselves.
At times, concessions must be made.
Frequently, it involves discarding superfluous Essential Requirements, and the hiring manager ultimately finds satisfaction in a new hire who might not have been chosen had the company adhered to the whimsical belief that individuals with fifteen obscure certifications abound on every street corner.
3. Reciting conventional, conformist responses during interviews won’t leave a lasting impression.
The unspoken third job search truth nobody tells job-seekers is that reciting conventional, conformist responses during interviews won’t leave a lasting impression. Such sheepish answers garner no favor; in fact, the hiring manager may easily forget encountering you altogether.
In a job interview, there’s no reward for being the most accommodating candidate.
Your objective is to express your genuine thoughts. If someone disapproves, it’s their concern, not yours.
Having been in numerous job interviews, I’ve heard unexpected or worldview-shaking statements from candidates.
Initially confused, I invariably found myself reconsidering. “That candidate really made me contemplate,” I’d reflect the next day.
Do you aspire to provoke thought in interviewers or fade from their memory 24 hours later?
4. You don’t get a great job by being the most agreeable candidate in the bunch
The overlooked fourth job-search truth of job searching is that securing an excellent job doesn’t hinge on being the most agreeable candidate.
No one respects an individual who unquestioningly agrees to every request—someone lacking standards, requirements, or boundaries.
If salary discussions reveal the company proposing less than market standards, speak up!
During my HR days, I collaborated with department managers to devise strategies for enticing crucial hires with appropriate compensation packages.
Many job-seekers lack negotiation skills for starting salaries, and it’s regrettable!
Asserting your value is a vital skill. It may lead to rejection by some employers, but who cares? Those organizations aren’t worthy of you.
Defending your worth will earn you respect, employment, and fair compensation from employers that truly appreciate your contributions.
5. The person who ends up getting hired is not the most docile and long-suffering candidate in the mix
The fifth job-search truth nobody tells job-seekers is that the successful candidate isn’t necessarily the most compliant and enduring one in the applicant pool.
Striving to be the Last Candidate Standing, enduring substantial mistreatment throughout the hiring process, will sour your job satisfaction from day one.
This approach risks compromising your well-being and draining your enthusiasm to the point where embarking on a new job search becomes a daunting prospect.
An essential skill in job hunting is knowing when to walk away from an unfavorable opportunity.
When the message conveyed is, ‘Comply quickly or be replaced!’ through the phone or email, it’s a signal to distance yourself and seek those who truly value your skills.
Always remember: Your worth is appreciated by those who understand you! The others can forge ahead without you, and you don’t need them. Manage your brilliant career wisely!
Looking to enhance your career prospects? Explore our CEOMichaelHR resume writing services for professionals and executives to craft a standout resume that truly reflects your talents and propels you towards success.