By Mary Ann Faremouth,
This year, in the midst of the challenging times of COVID-19, we would all like to imagine a job market where there is hope and rebirth for the many people who find themselves unemployed or furloughed at this time. As the festive time of Halloween is approaching, I am reminded of the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz” who told Dorothy that she had the power all along. If we take strategically designed steps to do it right, we, too, have the power to change our own personal world as we search for employment, transformation and rebirth. We can create our own magical approach by recognizing our own power within to get where we want to go with the right mindset and plan.
The Second Step of the Faremouth Method, Ask Better Questions, inspires me to wonder what might be learned from the pretend world of costumes and trick-or-treating. As a Career Consultant, I imagine what wisdom or lessons I can impart to job seekers that might establish some valuable analogies to help us all become more successful in our employment seeking efforts. This is a time where we need to be more imaginative and creative in how we assess our skill set to match the ever-changing job market and not limit ourselves to what we have known in the past. We have to change with the times now being presented to us.
Halloween, as we know it today in the United States, began after World War II and became widespread to dress up as superheroes, princesses, or whatever character was popularized that year. We were given permission for that one day to pretend we had the power to be something else. While kids go to neighborhoods to “Trick-or-Treat,” many offices allow employees to come to work that one day a year in costume.
Let’s look at some of the analogies we can glean from the “Trick or Treaters” that might also be applied to finding a job in these unusual and challenging times. I do believe, sitting on my side of the desk and hearing employers telling me what works and what doesn’t, there might be some “tricks” to consider to get the “treats” of finding a job in our current market situation.
1. Stand out among the Competition – In many costume contests, it’s the best costume that will get the prize or be noticed. Our attire, even on a Zoom interview, can make us stand out among the competition. Wear professional clothing that demonstrates your seriousness in finding employment. Being too casual in the online interviewing process has ruled many of my “best on paper” candidates out.
2. Be engaging and deliberate in the interview to express how your skill set applies to the job. I have heard from my clients that focused dialogue with good eye contact makes the candidate more impressive to them. Think about how, at Halloween, when the child at your door engages you in conversation, you gain a more favorable feeling about them than when they just grab the candies and take off. Just the other day I had a client reject a candidate with exact background because they did not try to bond with the interviewer to start, and right away asking for salary information and how many weeks of vacation they would get the first year.
3. Be grateful for whatever amount of candy is offered to you. These days, with so many people taking salary cuts, the Halloween treats might be much more restricted. The same applies to the job offers I am seeing these days. Salaries are on an average about 25% less than before the pandemic hit. Candidates must still be grateful for the opportunity to have a job with benefits with a stable company in these uncertain times. Having an attitude of unrealistic salary expectations at this time might really cost you a good job offer where, even if the salary may be less to start, it would allow one to learn, grow and increase the salary with experience and time on the job.
4. Make sure you say “Thank You” – No matter what is offered to you, be grateful and always say “Thank You.” The same goes for an interview with a prospective employer. Even if you don’t get the job offer, make sure you send a “thank you” note within the first 24 hours. If you get a rejection letter, always respond with gratitude for the opportunity to interview with them. I had a situation where my client hired a candidate from another source instead of the candidate I presented. Because my candidate sent a thank you note immediately and also responded to the rejection letter, when another opening came up in a different department, the client called me back asking for my candidate. The way the applicant handled the situation made an impression and stayed fresh in the mind of the HR Director. Your job search does not have to necessarily be a scary practice or situation. Stay positive and demonstrate yourself in a manner that will allow you to get offers in this challenging market.
Let Halloween and its long history of “rebirth” and transformation allow you to view your career plan with the same zest and enthusiasm as that Trick-or-Treater on a hunt for their own treats in life. With the right attitude, you, too, can make your job hunt sweeter and enjoy the benefits of conducting yourself in a manner that allows you to gain the job and career you imagine yourself to have! You might just find a job that is better suited for you than the one you had before. You are in control of how you conduct yourself and how you seek what you are looking for. Attitude is the biggest game changer in your job search. With the right attitude and presentation, you are in control. Just like that five-year-old trick-or-treater who appears on your doorstep on Halloween night who says “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” “please” and “thank you,” while making eye contact in the cutest costume you have ever seen, will always be rewarded with that extra piece of candy given with a smile. Take control of your outcome by recognizing that you had the power all along.
Mary Ann Faremouth is the founder and CEO of Faremouth & Company and a highly regarded recruiter, career consultant, speaker and writer. She has been a placement specialist and a leader in the national recruiting community and has placed thousands of employees since 1982. She was the 2016 president of the Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group and is a board member of the NASPD (National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors) and Authors Marketing Guild. She specializes in recruitment of professional, clerical, and temporary placements, with a variety of industry specific positions in various fields. Her expertise is in matching quality applicants with the right job, serving companies ranging from thriving independents to global conglomerates, tailoring each engagement to the client’s needs.
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, DC, and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations in various other industries, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. She has a keen understanding of the marketplace and its specialized needs and requirements.
Mary Ann brings a wealth of expertise to clients looking for the right individual to maximize and empower their team. As a consultant she is available to assist both the applicant and the client to quickly adapt to the New Work World. She also offers virtual and in-person workshops to guide individuals through personalized self-discovery to find new career paths. She continues to build her affiliations with recognized leadership organizations to best serve her clients and applicants by creating a network of highly professional contacts throughout the world. She utilizes her platform as a writer and speaker through her articles and affiliations to reach those in need of help, offering hands-on guidance to navigate this uncharted territory. (More information on www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 of the Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction by Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books by Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019) by Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018) by Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, teaching them how to tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction as well as the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann also showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.