You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online psychometric test (which you think you absolutely nailed), you receive the call to say that you did not get the job. That hurt. Rejection is not something anyone enjoys, so maybe just stay in your current job, tear up your CV and consider yourself done until retirement.

No, no, wait! This is one of those scenarios where persistence pays off. Take a breather, walk around the block a few times and let that rejection wash off you, and start again.

This job clearly wasn’t for you, so how can we turn this negative into a positive?

Did I say something wrong?

Unfortunately, you don’t often see companies or hiring authorities write a nice email to let you down gently. More often you find there is a wall of silence, never to be heard from again.

However, as you have met with the company at least once or twice, you should consider phoning or emailing the interviewer. You can thank them for the opportunity and, as part of your learning experience, ask them politely why you weren’t chosen.

If they are prepared to impart this information and you are prepared to listen for a few minutes and ask some pertinent questions, then you could receive some real gems in constructive criticism, well beyond ‘just not being a suitable candidate’.

Ideally you’ll learn about how you did, including whether you were lacking certain experience or needed a particular qualification (in which case the headhunter should have checked whether this was a deal breaker before putting you forward). Had you not done enough home work in preparation? Did you not ask the right questions? Or did they decide to promote internally or hire someone with 10 years more experience than you?

Which part of your performance can you improve?

If nothing else, consider your time meeting and interviewing with the headhunter and their client as a learning experience and, hopefully, as an opportunity to expand your network. However, what can you do to prepare better next time? Find out:

  • Were there any sticking points? How can they be avoided or how would you prepare differently for them?
  • If you were missing qualifications, evaluate whether it is worth gaining these.
  • Was the client expecting you to have skills or experience that you couldn’t claim you had?

Upskill for the next round

If some gaps have emerged in your skill set, experience or in how you answer certain interview questions, then now is the time to find a way to overcome these next time. Can you:

  • Do a course?
  • Volunteer for extra responsibilities or project work that will help you in your development?
  • Get a mentor in your current business?

Keep that door open!

So you did not get the job this time … however the company may well get other vacancies you qualify for in the future. Therefore, if you have been turned down, stay polite and friendly and see it as an opportunity to widen your network. What reasons can you find to stay in touch with the decision maker? Make sure they know you are interested in other vacancies as they materialise, send them an email thanking them for the opportunity and stay connected!

Network

With the emergence of the digital world, it is easier now more than ever before to stay in touch with your network by creating a digital presence and personal brand. Contribute, publish articles and comment. Make sure you are there to get noticed.

Good luck!

 

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with a headhunter, you will need to negotiate for yourself.

So how do you negotiate the right deal for you?

Work satisfaction will hopefully come from doing a job you enjoy, but being paid what you’re worth is crucial to feeling valued and having a sense of satisfaction at the end of a long week.

It can be awkward to bring up the subject of money, but it’s essential to get this right from the off. Once you’re in the role, it’s too late to negotiate.

So how do you ensure you really are getting what you deserve?

  • Be prepared to explain your reasoning with evidence-based research.
  • Are you upscaling your role, or is it on a similar level? Compare your expected salary, bonuses and benefits to the position you’re aiming for.
  • Ask some carefully chosen contacts in your industry what they would expect to get, in both terms of salary and other benefits.
  • Find out industry trends including salaries of similar positions and experience levels – a quick look on job boards or LinkedIn will provide some guidance.
  • If you’re moving to a different area, the pay package could vary depending on location.

Allow for flexibility

If you are asked to state what you’re looking for, give a ‘between x and y’ number so that you can negotiate. You can explain that this is the range you have come across for similar roles whilst doing your research.

Pitch it right

Don’t scupper your chances by asking for an unrealistically high salary unless you are prepared to take a risk that you may put yourself out of range.

Conversely, if you ask for too little, you could be underselling yourself and may never recover from that, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. Even if it’s your dream job, think beyond the initial excitement and imagine how you’ll feel on that salary in a year or two’s time.

Your previous research will indicate what a reasonable amount for the position and your experience could be.

Exceptions to the rule

If you’re moving from a city location with high expenses to a rural area with an easy commute (or flexibility to work from home) accepting less money could be an option. Or perhaps you’re changing industries and lack experience. Be clear about the reasons before you decide.

Don’t jump in too soon

Wait until you have a formal job offer before you start negotiating – you’re in a much stronger position when you know they want you, and you don’t need to start haggling in the early stages. It could even be off-putting to some.

Any other benefits?

Salary packages could include much more than just a monthly pay packet. Remember to factor in other benefits:

Gym membership, private health insurance, company car, car parking, travel benefits, annual bonus, extra holiday days, fewer travelling expenses. Add up all these extra costs that you may not need to pay out of your own pocket in the future.

Will you get better progression and promotion prospects with this new role? The opportunities presented to you to progress could have value.

Be confident

Be confident and maintain eye contact if you’re asked to state an expected salary. There will be time for negotiation if and when you are offered the role, so simply state your expectations and wait it out. If you’ve done your research, you should be able to do this with a degree of certainty.

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or be prepared to get stuck in the job you currently have. In today’s age, everyone is expected to learn new tricks all the time in an ever-evolving workplace, and not doing so can impact on your career in ways you really don’t want it to.

Here are some thoughts on how to stay on top of all you need to do, know and learn to future proof your career.

Be that person who says yes
Consider saying “yes” at work as a way of upskilling, widening your knowledge and getting paid while you’re doing it. As an added bonus, you might just impress the boss, and others, enough to further yourself in the industry.

What sort of things should you say yes to?
• Joining a new project.
• Taking on extra responsibility, even if it’s temporary.
• Any form of professional development, training or upskilling. The more you learn now, the wider your skillset will be, and the more employable you become.
Be careful though that you don’t burn yourself out, make sure to prioritise your tasks and be honest with yourself, and your boss, if your plate is overloaded.

Don’t be pigeonholed
One of the biggest dangers for those who want to grow in their career is to pigeonhole yourself with skills so specific they become non-transferable or, worse, you simply get left behind. Avoid this by diversifying.

• Be open to learn new skills, particularly when it comes to learning new software and technology, which tends to rapidly change and evolve. Remember, everything is new until you learn it – from there on it’s another tool to add to your arsenal.
• Keep up to date with the latest news and developments in your field, so you know where areas of upskilling or improvements should be in the future.
• Ask for professional development opportunities.
• Use social media and other online tools to hunt for clues about what could be changing in your industry and seek out links to useful resources to change with it.
• Attend conferences, particular those which concentrate on technical developments.

Stay fresh, stay relevant
In a fast-paced, ever changing world, keeping up with the skills you require for the job can be a job in itself. But, in the interest of future-proofing your career, it’s a task you have to consider as an investment.

• Set aside time regularly to assess what new skills are required – or will soon be needed – in your industry. That could mean researching jobs similar to your own, identifying new software and technology developments or even reading job ads to find out what skills are needed in other companies.
• Is there anything you can do at home to upskill to make sure you stay relevant in your industry? Consider online training or other education options.
• Shadow someone in a senior or different position to you to build on your current skills, and make yourself more employable by increasing your knowledge.

When opportunity strikes, be ready
Ensure your CV and professional online profile is relevant, up to date and out there to be seen – after all, you never know who could be looking.

• Seek out connections and maintain them, most will find job opportunities through their network. A personal endorsement, a hint about upcoming opportunities or the latest word on new developments could make all the difference in your future career path.
• Maintain your relationships with recommended recruitment specialists, you really want to be front of mind when they come across opportunities.

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for it

To ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right (that’s the first tip), you need to put yourself forward. If you consider the alternative of staying exactly where you are until your expiry date, then that’s not much of a long term career plan …!

Here’s some ways of approaching, and preparing yourself for, this slightly daunting exercise.

Time it right and be tactful

Clearly, barging into your boss’s office at 9am on a Monday morning while they’re on an important conference call, and on a tight deadline, is not exactly being tactful. It is imperative that you time it right and ensure you’re fully prepared. So where to start?

  • Suggest a meeting time with your boss at a time that you know suits them. Often, an annual review is the best time for promotion talk, however when you know someone is leaving or there are organisational changes afoot, then you need pounce earlier!
  • Prepare for the meeting with a clear plan, commit it to paper and use it as the agenda for the meeting. What is the result you want? Are you looking for more money or is this promotion about valuable and strategic experience?
  • In your plan, include what other options you may be willing to consider, such as a small pay rise and a clearer career path to where you want to be.
  • Remind yourself of your career goals so you can explain these in the meeting.
  • Be prepared for an answer that you don’t like, and think about how you might respond to this.

Have all your ducks in a row

Come to the meeting with solid research to back up your request. This is not a fishing trip and a case of throwing a line out in the direction of your boss and seeing what you can reel in in terms of your next career move.

  • You must have evidence that shows how worthwhile you are to your employer. What are your achievements, what is your performance on projects, what responsibilities and skills do you have? You must have numbers to back it up, so bring those too.
  • Research what on average your potential future role would pay.
  • Take into account your skills, experience, location and sector when researching market rates, and set a minimum benchmark for what you’d accept.
  • Form a list of the companies’ goals and objectives, and consider how you would help achieve those goals should you get a promotion.

Make sure you’re noticed

To be considered for a promotion, you need to have impressed your boss or other decision makers within the business.

  • Put up your hand for extra responsibilities.
  • Ask for, and take up, professional development opportunities.
  • Do plenty of internal and external networking, so you know what’s happening in your sector. Include online networking such as forums, discussion boards and seminars, gathering valuable inside industry information.

A good way to structure the conversation itself is to ‘sandwich’ the request:

First convey how you are enjoying the business and how you have contributed to the success. Secondly share your career ambitions and plans, dovetailing that into the opportunity you see for promotion. Finally, explain how your promotion would be advantageous to the business (as in, seeing people promoted within the business rather than external recruitment is motivational to others, as a newly promoted person you’re bound to have that extra motivation to do the job well, and your boss is going to look good by having developed an internal talent).

Let me know if you need help, good luck!

Maarten Jonckers

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

Climbing the slippery pole – keep your career moving forward

If you want your career to progress then you have to be prepared to push it along! Embrace your current role and get all the experience, skills and knowledge it can offer you. However be mindful that your next step (and the one after) should be pointing you directly towards your career objective.

So, how do you ensure your career development stays on track and keeps up momentum, whilst doing a great job in your current position?

Continue reading “Climbing the slippery pole – keep your career moving forward”

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

How to manage stress

Stressed? How can you manage it rather than it managing you? When the pressure is on in the workplace, feeling stressed is completely normal. But it’s not normal to be feeling workplace stress constantly, such as when you’re at home, or on holiday.

Fear not! There are some practical things you can do.

Don’t kid yourself that multi-tasking is achieving more

You’re on a tight deadline but the phone keeps ringing, your family is on your case about an upcoming event, colleagues are firing questions at you and notifications keep popping up about things you haven’t got round to yet.

Keeping all the plates spinning is difficult enough on a normal day – how can you ditch the interruptions when your deadline really is crucial?

  • Schedule out some time in your diary and pop your headphones on at your desk. Better still, book a meeting room and lock yourself inside it.
  • Inform your colleagues and ask them not to interrupt you for a couple of hours.
  • Close your email, put your phone on silent and turn off notifications – even if you don’t read your messages and emails, the beeping is bound to distract you.
  • If it’s practical, take yourself away from your workplace altogether. A quiet café, a co-working space, or even working from home can help you be more productive without interruptions.

Make the most of peak energy

  • Do you know which time of day you work best? Prioritise your time to get your mountain of work done when you’re likely to be most productive.
  • Tackle at least one of your challenging jobs first thing, and the satisfaction of achievement will stand you in good stead to ride out the rest of the day productively.
  • Concentrating for a full eight hours may not be realistic every day. Take breaks, and if possible get some fresh air. A quick stroll around the block in the sunshine may just provide the refreshing perspective you need to successfully dive into the next job that needs to be ticked off.

Bring a healthy lunch

  • Deep down we all know it! A healthy meal during your work day is kind of important.
  • Coffee, pastries from the morning meeting and the chocolate bar you found at the bottom of your bag will play havoc with your blood sugar, and you’ll ultimately feel sluggish. Help control stress levels by eating healthily.

Break it down – take small bites

  • Do you have a mind-numbingly long list to work through, a particularly pressure-filled meeting to attend or a big project to deliver?
  • Sometimes, the only way to approach these stressful situations is to break it down into simple, bite-size steps that you can tick off as you go along.
  • Set realistic goals. There’s nothing as stressful as frantically trying to meet a target that is completely unachievable.
  • Define and identify the most important and critical steps, and list them. Then, do them, one by one. It’s amazing how ticking the list off systematically can reduce stress levels.
  • Take a moment to consider your role in the bigger picture. Are you taking on tasks that could be delegated? Is your colleague quite capable of performing tasks that you’re currently withholding for fear of not reaching perfection? Making a list of jobs that can be slid to another desk might just bring stress levels down to a more manageable level.

Don’t carry other people’s stress

  • Being in a management or supervisory position often means taking on other people’s problems. But what if that mountain gets to the point of burying you in a pile of stress? It’s time to do something about it.
  • Seek help from a superior, an equal in another department or someone in human resources. A problem shared is a problem halved, and a problem delegated is good stress management.
  • If the stress is coming from a team project of which you’re carrying the lions’ share, then call a team meeting and reiterate your shared goals. Prioritise each person’s task and move forward as a group.

Identify your stress triggers, and find perspective

If you’re finding that stress is a constant companion at work, rather than an intermittent situation tied clearly to deadlines, then you may need to look closely at what is causing it. Finding perspective may be the answer to preventing workplace stress from devouring your life on the outside.

  • Talk to colleagues or superiors to identify the root cause of the stress. Just talking through your problem may be of help.
  • Are you so entrenched in your work that you can’t see the light of day anymore? Gain perspective by considering the end goal of what you’re trying to achieve, and whether it’s worth the mental anguish you’re spending on it.
  • When you take a break, do it properly. Switch off your devices, leave your emails for tomorrow and allow yourself crucial time out. It may be as simple as going to the gym at lunchtime or after work, and leaving your phone far away in your bag or locker.
  • Sometimes, workplace stress can’t be helped but there has to be an end point. Book a holiday or a short break just after a deadline, and give yourself a breather to recuperate.
  • Know when to seek help. If you can’t shake the stress, consider talking to a professional to talk through what is causing it and to learn some coping mechanisms. Some workplaces offer counselling services and there’s no shame, or harm, in using these.

When it’s bigger than work, but impacts on work

Workplace stress may not stem from the work itself, but from an event that impacts your team, or society as a whole. This may be a shocking or tragic event, a seriously ill colleague or the announcement of a looming restructure.

  • Internalising this information without talking about it could lead to a great deal of internal stress. So how should you cope?
  • Talk to another colleague or friend about it. Sharing the load, and accepting that you are both feeling stress about the situation, may help.
  • Ask your boss to organise a meeting in a casual setting to acknowledge the event. Knowing there is support around may help everyone to cope a little bit better.
  • Do something proactive and positive. Organise a catered morning tea to allow casual discussion about an event that impacted everyone, prepare a support package for the colleague who is ill, or schedule an off-site lunch.

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

When is it time to move on from your job?

After a few years in the same job, one day you may find that your enthusiasm, high work standards and general attitude have been gradually deteriorating.

This may have come about following changes in the workplace that you don’t agree with – maybe your skills have outgrown the role, or you’re no longer being challenged and the enjoyment is waning.

It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and identify if this is just a temporary rut or a permanent hole. But how do you know that it really is time to move on? Continue reading “When is it time to move on from your job?”

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

How to ask for a pay rise – and other tough questions

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Often getting what you want in life can be be simply down to just asking for it. But when it comes to your career, it isn’t always that easy. A pay increase, a promotion, extended leave, flexible working hours – these are all things we may want from our job, but are afraid or reluctant to ask for. Continue reading “How to ask for a pay rise – and other tough questions”

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

Second interview – will you prepare a presentation?

There you are, just heard that you have made the cut and you’re through to the 2nd interview stage! Hopefully you have asked how many candidates have progressed to that stage, so that you have a sense of the amount of competition you have. Continue reading “Second interview – will you prepare a presentation?”

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …

Are you struggling to concentrate?

A guest post from Zena Everett, Speaker and Author of Crazy Busy

Why is your brain constantly frazzled?

Can you remember the last time you were able to knuckle down to some deep, productive work? Or does your brain feel permanently frazzled as you toggle from one task to another, struggling to concentrate?

Find your Flow state

Remember when you last worked in flow? That’s when you were completely absorbed in your work, losing track of time, forgetting about the outside world. Flow is when we are at our most productive and creative. People who regularly work in flow (two hours a day ideally) report greater levels of happiness, work less hours and get paid more.

For most of us, this is a rare treat.  We get into flow once a week if we are lucky. We usually have to hide somewhere to do it.  Office life is a sticky molasses pool of digital distractions, routine administration, needless conference calls, unproductive meetings, powerpoint decks that no one reads and lengthy email chains.  We can’t actually WORK at work anymore.  Real work has to fit around the sides of the fake work.  It doesn’t matter if you are a genius or a goldfish, it’s impossible to concentrate on anything meaningful. It’s ridiculous!


 

Read these fixes to find your focus

Do one thing at once.  Don’t kid yourself you can multi-task. No one can: we can only do one significant task at once. You can’t listen in a meeting while doing your emails, or take a call during dinner, or interrupt writing a report to handle a query. It is an inefficient and ultimately chaotic way to live/work. Do one thing at once and learn to manage interruptions. Be fully present in whatever you are doing, so you can be 100% concentrating, 100% listening, 100% engaging, as the occasion demands.

Switch off.  Our brain is constantly bombarded with information and choices.   Give it a break. Switch off as many digital channels as you can so you can focus on what’s most important. Don’t check your emails constantly; build a routine of checking them several times a day and switching off notifications in between you aren’t distracted. People can call/text/find you if there’s a genuine drama. You don’t need to have your phone in front of you, pinging away, using up your attention. Wean yourself off it. Set an alarm to check it in 45 + minutes, and put it away. Let me know how good it feels when you try this.

Chunk your time.  Match your tasks to your time. Your diary should contain time to do actual work, as well as time for meetings. If your time is boundaried like this you don’t have to make a choice about what to do next and procrastinate or slide into doing the easy quick hit stuff that’s screaming out in front of you (your inbox). You just follow your plan. Batch up your tasks in 90 minute chunks so you aren’t switching from one to another, but doing all your emails at once, or writing reports, handling client queries, supporting colleagues and so on.

First things first.  Your first chunk of time must be for your priority tasks.  Your brain would prefer the dopamine hits it gets from the quick pay-off of easy, routine tasks like clearing your inbox. It is too easy to get bogged down with emails and queries that add little value whilst create more work for you and everyone else. They don’t move us forwards, but we hope they get us back to square one so that we can do our ‘real’ work. The problem is that we run out of time.  Reverse the pattern, get your energy up with a few quick wins, then move on to the big stuff asap. Just one priority task a day might be a realistic intention – don’t over-estimate what you can do. And perfectionists like me have to learn to live with some unfinished small stuff.

Recent Posts

rejection image

You did not get the job

So after two or so conversations and an interview with the headhunter, two face to face meetings with their client and an online …

Get yourself the right salary

A good headhunter will have done their research and will usually get you a realistic remuneration package. But if you’re not working with …

Future proof your career

If the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to you then you either have to change your ways or …

How to ask for a promotion

Looking for a promotion? How to ask for itTo ask for a promotion is a big deal, but when the time is right …