When the role doesn’t fit

Being interviewed for a position is always an interesting activity, and I often feel that I read too much into what happens. But, I think after yesterday’s interview, I might be on the money this time.

The interview yesterday began as normal as any other: I introduced myself to the manager, we went into a small meeting room and began some idle chit chat, and then we delved into some interview style questions. I tried hard to make the meeting as conversation as possible- I had him going off on tangents about the products that they use, the direction of the company, and the struggles they’ve recently been finding- which for me was fantastic. It meant that we got to converse more, I learnt about the business while being able to offer a few thoughtfully placed remarks here and there. What took me back a little bit was about 20 minutes into the interview, the manager turned around and said that while looking at my resume he didn’t see me a fit for the role I had applied for, but he could see me as a great fit for a new position that they had just started advertising.

This was… good? The thing that takes me back about it the most is that this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Several times now- more than a couple- I’ve interviewed and landed jobs that I didn’t specifically apply for, but the employer just happened to see a match for their position and my skills and background.

I’m not sure if this means I should start applying for more jobs that I’m better suited to, or if this technique is actually working out for me. I guess time will tell.

After an hour interview yesterday the manager told me that he was happy to put my name forward to the next round, but while he’s the state manager, the final decision rests with the national manager. Fingers and toes, I suppose.

Proof is in the Pudding

The job hunt continues each and every day at the moment, with the total jobs that I have now applied for exceeding 90.

I wrote a post the other day about how I had sat down and applied for a few positions, and from that I have already received two interview requests. One of those interviews was meant to be today, however the company called me and told me not to bother coming in as the position had been filled internally. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

I did, though, get a call from someone I know on Sunday who works as a recruiter. He had seen my profile on LinkedIn and had found a position that he thinks I would be perfect for. Reading over it, I would absolutely love it- but, I don’t think he represents the company itself, and we’re now relying on them wanting to hire him, to hire me. It seems like something they didn’t want, and so I’m not holding my breath for that one.

My remaining job interview this week is on Wednesday, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s still in Sales, but working for an AV/IT company, so something I have a genuine passion for. Wish me luck.

The Journey So Far

Two and a half months have passed since I started looking for a new career. That’s about half as long as I’ve actually been in the position that I’m in.

It’s not the best look for someone to be in a position for such a short amount of time, I know, but I also feel that it’s better to change now and to get into a position where I can truly focus on building a career, rather than run myself into the ground and end up hating my job, the people I work with, or myself.

What I realised today was that in those two and a half months that have passed since I started applying for jobs, I have applied for a total of 80 positions. 80. To me, that seems like a lot. It’s roughly one position per day for two and a half months.

Admittedly when I first started looking for a new position, I selectively chose higher level management jobs, and did not write great cover letters- I suppose you could say I wasn’t committed to finding a new role, and was lazily doing it. I was also applying ro one or two roles a week. Now, though, I’m writing individual cover letters for almost each and every position, and applying for anywhere between 3-10 jobs per day, depending what’s available.

I have also broadened my search outside the primary industry I wanted to work in, and outside of higher level management positions I hoped for. Where my early search history was filled with titles of “manager”, “coordinator”, “leader”, these titles are now spattered with keywords of “junior”, “entry level”, and “assistant”. I’m not against these lower-ranking roles, and in fact almost hope I get one of these so I can learn the position and flourish in a role before hitting the leadership ladder, but it’s not what I started out angling for.

I’ve now been called back for 4 interviews. 80 applications, 4 interviews. That’s a success rate of only 5%.

This isn’t surprising to me, though. There’s a lot of articles that suggest anywhere up to 80% or more of jobs advertised are already filled- as new employees these days are found through networks or internally, not through websites. So if only 20% of the jobs I’m seeing are even really available to me, it’s not surprising that I’m hitting so low. Not surprising even more is that 2 of those 4 interviews got back to me and said I did great, but they hired internally.

Breaking the numbers down, having only applied for 80 positions, this means that perhaps only 16 of those are jobs that are really available. 4 of 16 is actually a good hit rate- 25%. I just need to play the numbers game and apply for more jobs, standing out in my applications.

Now that I’ve changed my approach and am seriously applying (i.e. writing individual cover letters targeting specific businesses) perhaps my hit rate might go up- but, let’s wait and see.

Job Hunting Ho!

I’ve now been in my role as an International Travel Consultant (read: travel agent) for nearly 8 months now, and at the very least I need to pay respect and show my admiration for the people that do the job and stick it out. It’s a tough gig where the winners spend every day of their lives selling themselves, their business, and their product. It’s absolutely exhausting, especially with the long hours and the poor pay packet that comes with it. It’s a gig that, sadly, I’ve decided is not for me.

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time now- probably 3 months even. Entering the job I spent a month in intensive training, and then each and every day since then struggling not to have my head explode as I’ve received conflicting instructions and policies and procedures. I’ve not failed at the job by any means- in my opinion- and have received a fair few moments of recognition for where I place at the end of each month. Even as I write this, I sit 3rd or 4th in the ‘Top 10′ list for those that have been within the company for less than 12 months. I’m proud of that fact.

I’m also confident at what I do: I have no problem with the sales process, nor the product. Hell, it’s travel: I love the product! But I do have a problem with marking up a booking, and, unfortunately, that’s the main way a travel agent earns their dollars. I don’t entirely consider it a bad thing- or even unethical. The markup should be in line with how tough the holiday is to piece together and book- and how many hours that agent spends doing it. But of course, I would think that. I’m an agent.

The problem comes, for me, mainly from the fact that I do not like the hours for the money. I’m used to a job where if you put in 10 hours, you receive 10 hours of pay. It’s a set dollar per hour figure, and you know what you’re taking home at the end of the week. Now, I’m in a job where I could put in an extra 10 hours and have nothing to show for it- or I could put in 10 hours and take home an extra $500. It depends on my own ability to convince my customer to give me their money. An ability that I have no doubt will increase with time, but an ability that I don’t consider important for my future career, and so don’t intend on spending time improving.

The skill itself is a mixture of sales, trust, networking, and negotiation- all individual skills that I think are highly important in all aspects of business; but not a skill set in itself I intend to grow through this method.

As I mentioned, it was around 3 months ago- around August 2014- that I decided I was going to start looking for a new job: and look I have. I’ve decided that as it’s a much bigger process than I first though, I’m going to chronicle my job hunting. As with all my blog articles, it’s mainly for me to look back on in years to come and go “oh yeah”, but hopefully it’ll also give someone a first-person perspective on what it’s really like.

Well, what it’s really like for an unqualified, highly skilled person who seeks to achieve big in short time frames, to find a job. So far: it hasn’t been great.

Terrorists Plot Againt PM Tony Abbott

Only this morning the news broke across the nation that the Australian Federal Police foiled a plan to attack our Parliament House, a plan which involved a series of motions that would see our Prime Minister killed.

It’s no secret that a lot of people across our country don’t like the man, with a poll on September 9 showing that 52% of voters do not approve of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. I am 100% confident in voicing my own disapproval of the man. What I’m not confident about is some of the comments that were thrown around certain circles when the terrorist news broke this morning.

I was deeply saddened to hear a remark this morning of “Good” to describe the plans to kill our Prime Minister. “Good”. Such a simple, and likely thoughtless comment thrown at such a deeply motivated and powerful situation that has such big ramifications for the entire world… I don’t understand why people don’t think before they speak.

I know, on the surface, that whoever said the comment is very unlikely to truly want Tony Abbott to be the target of such a plot. Like the majority of us, perhaps they do truly want him removed from his position of PM. Removed from politics altether. But to wish someone else dead goes against every fibre of human nature that it truly saddens me, on every level of understanding.

Since ASIO increased the threat level in Australia earlier this week, there has been a big back-lash on Social Media saying that it’s only a political stunt to win favour for the PM, that they’re manufacturing a n artificial sense of worry and panic so that they, the Government, can be seen to be doing something useful for our society.

I don’t know if these terrorist plots that have now come to light within our nation’s boundaries will prove the nay-sayers wrong, or only add fuel to the fire, but I do struggle to see whether it matters. If there is even a slight threat that members of our nation- no matter which member, and no matter how they joined our country- if any member of our nation is threatened, then don’t we owe it to them, and to all of us, to alert each other, to educate each other, and to protect each other by any means possible?

I’m a staunch believer in globalisation. While I believe in the pride of belonging to one’s own nation, and to upholding that nation’s ideals and growing that nation’s culture, I do believe that we need to find our place in the world, where we can work with, not against, any other nation. Making stupid, throw away comments about our PM, has been taken to a new level and we need to stop.

This last month

A month has passed since I last wrote, and basically that’s because I’ve been trying to pretend my life isn’t even happening. It took almost two months for me to find a job, and so I am poor as fuck at the moment. I’m moving out of my house because I can’t afford the rent, and temporarily staying with my boyfriend. No idea how I’m going to afford to pay any of my bills.

On the plus side, I got a job offer. In fact, I got 3. A casual, a part time, and a full time. I even started working the casual- did 2 shifts before getting the full time job offer. So now Quitting that, not accepting the part time, and start the full time at the end of next week. Least that’s something.

I just hate that this has even happened. I try not to hang on to feelings of hatred for long, but I just can’t let go of how disappointed I am with my previous employers. Telling me things were good, lulling me into a sense of security, then firing me at the eleventh hour without a single warning. It has literally thrown my life into chaos and I’m struggling to put it back on track.

I’m in my mid twenties and I’m supposed to have things sorted by now. At least this new job will give me the opportunity to put my head down, and start a career.

4-Stages of Success

The job application process differs from company to company, and role to role. The job that I’m gunning for at the moment, that I wrote about previously, is one of the most intense and thorough job applications that I have ever done. And it makes me want to work for the company even more.

Basically there seems to be 4 stages to being considered for this job, and each stage eliminates more and more applicants.

Stage 1. This was the submission of a CV and cover letter, and is probably the most rudimentary of the steps. All positions that I’ve applied for require this- although one job I did see and decided wasn’t for me, asked for people to go in and verbally explain their employment history rather than put it on paper. Good way to show communication skills, I guess. This is the easiest step to just weed out people without the required background, or to find people who have put in that little bit extra.

Stage 2: Interview 1. This was a semi-formal chat, asking the usual questions of ‘why do you want to work for xyz company’ and ‘tell us a little bit about yourself’. This was with 2 senior staff members, and was relatively brief. Retrospectively, I’ve been told this is the “skill checking” interview- to make sure that the skills I’ve put on paper are actually there; as well as ensuring I could physically do the job.

Stage 3: Interview 2. This was the interview that I had yesterday, and boy was it interesting. I don’t know yet- until this afternoon- if I progress beyond this stage, but 4 of us applying for this role were called back for a second interview. I keep using the term interview, but really, it was an interrogation. Two management-level execs playing good cop/bad cop, and asking some pretty raw questions. They told me at the beginning and end it was because they wanted to “drill down to who I was as a person”, and see what I was like under pressure and when faced with an uncomfortable situation. Whether or not they liked what they found when they did drill down… yet to be shown. Of us 4, 2 progress to the next level…

Stage 4: Interview 3. This is the first role I’ve been for that has a 3-interview process, and this final interview is with the General Manager of the business. More on this to come- hopefully.

 

I mentioned that this somewhat laborious process actually made me want to work for the company more- by taking their time and studiously choosing which person they want, the more likely that person is going to fit into the company. On top of that, by having at least 5 contact points- 2,2,1 during the interviews- then various people within the company can also figure out if you’d be a good cultural mix…

 

My only question is whether or not I have the goods, and whether or not I’d fit. I’ll be a bit bummed if I don’t, but that’s the game.