WorkWise: Maverick moves for job hunters

January 30, 2014 

King & Bishop Inc.’s Leto Papadopoulos (left), director of training and development, speaks with sourcing specialist Victoria Majcher (right) about subtle changes that can lead to job offers. The HR and contract recruiting firm is based in Waltham, Mass. Credit: David Greenwood

Jason Kanigan has received four job offers where he set himself up as the one candidate. Coming from Canada with no contacts in November, 2009, he began nine months of not working, per the immigration process.

To create visibility, he followed what became his mantra – “get people used to seeing you.” Leaning on family and friends, he developed a no-cost website – he’s not a techie – and content he could put in front of people. He landed a job as a sales trainer in a sales training firm.

“Get on the radar of the people who have the power to hire you,” Kanigan says. “Drip-feed them your relevant, interesting content. Develop yourself as the expert. Get them to start seeing YOU as the expert, you as the only possible solution, the only candidate.” Today, as founder of Sales on Fire Inc. in Wilmington, N.C., he advocates the “drip marketing” he used to land his first job here.

In lively job-hunting environments, such as Silicon Valley and Houston, invisibility might not be your problem. There, your maverick move is to interview every time you have a chance, even if you feel you’ve had enough interviews for a lifetime. Joanne Driscoll, retired from a corporate and private headhunting career in Houston, Tex., reports that experienced people in oil and gas in her market are in great demand today.

Driscoll advises everyone to “have your job radar on at all times, because opportunities will appear. If you don’t pay attention, someone else will get the opportunity. A job that’s not appealing at first glance might turn out to be much more interesting in a face-to-face situation. You’ll sharpen your interview skills and the interviewer could remember you for something else or refer you to another company’s hiring influence.”

Not every maverick move has to be major. Think of tweaking your process. Leto Papadopoulos, director of training and development at King & Bishop Inc., an HR and contract recruiting firm in Waltham, Mass., lists a number of possibilities, including how to network and get really good leads.

Don’t just network hither and yon. “Network with people who have your title or are in your industry,” she specifies. The stronger your target, the more effective the link.

When you’re doing it, don’t “shy away from directly asking about opportunities or introductions to key people,” she says. “Ask for referrals. Don't assume that someone knows what you're looking for or that they'll take action if you don't ask.”

If you’ve been wearing white shirts or a subdued blouse, try something else, she recommends. Being traditional doesn’t always work.

Accept a cup of coffee or glass of water in the interview, “unless you’re really not thirsty,” Papadopoulos suggests, to make the interview more relaxed on both sides of the desk. She also advises that you take notes, because each of you is interviewing the other.

A maverick move of stepping out of your current environment might inspire new ideas. You don’t have to take a vacation to do that. Schedule a day or weekend away from your computer filled with self-indulgent activities. Turn your technology off. Go to a movie. Throw a party for no good reason. Call friends and relatives you haven’t spoken with for a long time.

If you’ve been job hunting intensely and you don’t want to take a break of any kind, your predominant maverick move might be to ease up just a bit. Making the search easier on yourself might make it easier for an employer to offer you a job.

Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net.

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