By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
Sitting in my office on a rainy day in April, I pondered the phrase: “April Showers bring May flowers.” And then I thought to myself, It’s true: rains in April, the month that kicks off the growing season, actually do provide spring-flowering plants with the nutrients needed to thrive in the months going forward. Being a recruiting consultant dealing with candidates and employers ready for better days ahead, I thought about rain as a metaphor as how life, like the rain, can bring growth, wash away the difficult times of the past, and release new beginnings. Sometimes that journey is filled with many twists and turns along the way. However, I am convinced we can all expand and grow after the challenges of the past. So often during our life, we are ruled by a fear of failure or change, disappointment, facing rejection, etc. JK Rowling once wrote something like “you will never truly know yourself or your strength until tested by adversity.” It is only when our own “rains of life” become challenging that we see how strong we truly are.
As we prepare for this new journey, we might find that by asking better questions now will give you the time to prepare honest responses to ensure better results as well as educate yourself to secure a true season of growth going forward.
In the New Work World, if you are serious about securing a job or making better hiring decisions, you will have to “put the pedal to the metal” to really be proactive and make a strong commitment to be able to stand out above the competition. As with any great setback in life, the real winners are those who have resilience and perseverance. You really do have choices as to how you respond and dedicate your energies to create new opportunities for yourself.
The new prospective employer will not tolerate why your resume has formatting issues, why your references won’t return a call, why your LinkedIn profile is not up-to-date and professional, why you have been too stressed out with turndowns, family, kids, etc. These issues and attitudes could very well cost you the job offer later. Employers also may have to ask themselves some serious questions about how, with an unprecedented talent shortage, a lack of industry-trained candidates available, remote/hybrid preferences, they can attract and retain the best talent to their company in these changing times.
Asking Better Questions might allow you to look more appealing than the candidate with more experience who DID NOT prepare. Doing a proper evaluation of yourself will better prepare you when you are competing for the same job with others who may be more qualified than you. Employers will be looking for a candidate with that something extra as they determine the best applicant for the job. You can turn this into a time of reinventing yourself through discovery. Discovery will come about because of your self-analysis in preparation for re-entering the New Work World. For employers, history has shown that gain can come out of destruction. The Phoenix will rise from the ashes. Even if there is a major shortage of talent of experienced people available, fishing in other ponds to get that trophy candidate might be the method you need to consider. Looking at sharp candidates with transferrable skills, considering internships, easing off on technical requirements and doing more cross training to build bonds with teammates to fill the jobs more quickly, might be strategies to consider in the current market. These new strategies might allow us to not experience “raining on our parade” and we march forth into better days ahead in the employment market and see the fruits of our good efforts bloom and grow.
Some things to consider are as follows:
1. Do a realistic self-analysis to document your skills and weaknesses related to your job and desire to secure a new career. Identify areas where you could improve, etc.,
2. Do research to target a new job or industry which will perhaps be more profitable and secure than the one you currently have or came from.
3. Contact previous bosses, if you are currently unemployed, of course, to secure reference letters, inform them of a possible prospective employer calling, and expressing gratitude for them taking the time out of their day to answer any questions about your previous work performance.
4. When asked why you might have been laid off, terminated, or furloughed in the last few years, how will you explain? Remember to express gratitude for the experience, reserve any hard feelings about the loss of your unemployment, and omit any negative talk about a particular industry, boss, or co-worker.
5. If you had to lay off many during the past few years, explain that this was an industry-wide move that was necessary, and restaffing now seems to have longevity attached to it.
6. Analyze your monthly household living expenses to see if there are ways to cut back so that you are not working for just a paycheck. You want to find employment that is going to satisfy your passion and utilize your skills. It can be worth taking a step back for perhaps a giant step forward.
7. Evaluate what is really needed in the job you need to fill. If the person has transferrable skills without every boxed checked on the job order, could a candidate without exact experience be worth talking to if their resumes demonstrate achievement and success in other areas?
8. Find a trusted mentor, friend, previous boss, or family member who you can lean on for support when the stress of your long hours at office because of short staff or overwhelming new sales orders coming in with limited time to fill them.
9. Engage in mindfulness techniques such as YOGA, meditation, or visualization to help you get centered and calm down during this process of major changes in the New Work World.
10. Make time to exercise, relax and involve yourself in hobbies that you might enjoy and have something fun in your life.
Let the month of April be a reminder that rain makes things smell fresh. There is a beautiful smell when the sun comes back out. It can be a lovely surprise that tends to be forgotten during the dreary downpour. This transformational time can be used as a very important step by re-introducing ourselves to the world as outdated practices and procedures are removed and we are much more in touch with who we are and what we have to offer the world to make it a better place. We are truly finding our place within that new work world and our own world as we emerge a much better version of who we had been. In the process, we may find that our new life is better than the one we left behind. Remember rain is needed to make plants grow, and in the circle of life the metaphor of rain as it relates to challenges and changes makes us grow!
Mary Ann Faremouth
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, D.C., 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, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.