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It’s aggravating when you’re not asked to come talk about a job. It’s worse going to a bunch of meetings and still not landing one. Nothing fuels self-doubt more than having a great meeting with the hiring manager, walking away feeling it’s in the bag, only to have the phone remain silent. If you keep coming up short you’re committing job search sin #8: Not asking for the job if you want it or not following up properly or at all.
When You Want the Job, Ask
To a large extent, job hunting is a numbers game. If you have been diligent about identifying your skills, understanding your passion, and determining market demand you will get a job. When you work from the inside, as I suggested in last week’s post, you’ll reduce the time it takes. But you’re not going to be offered every job you apply for. You may not get offered any of them if another candidate has the gumption to ask at the end of a meeting, “given everything we’ve discussed, can you offer me the job?”
The company may choose to speak with all candidates before making a decision. But the hiring manager may not want to risk losing an excellent employee. So if a previous candidate makes his wishes clear, you’ll be out of luck.
It seems so basic. But a lot of veterans don't do it. If you want the job, ask for it.
The purpose of the meeting is for you and the hiring manager to assess the mutual benefit of your working there. When you ask for the job it should be clear you believe this is good for you AND the company.
You won’t be ruled out for making your assessment clear. Nor will it impact your position when negotiating compensation. In most cases, such decisiveness will work to your advantage.
If the hiring manager doesn’t see the fit, aren’t you better off knowing immediately. And if he disagrees with your assessment or doesn’t like your assertiveness what does that bode about a future work situation?
Alleviating the Fear of Asking
Asking for the job can have three results:
- No, you’re not the person we’re looking for. Great, you know where you stand. Perhaps you thought the meeting went well. Was your perception correct? Ask questions. The hiring manager may be reluctant to discuss the matter. If the reasons sound harsh he may have legal concerns. Ask for suggestions on how you can improve for your next meeting.
- No, not right now. Great, you know you’re still in the running.
- Yes. Great! You got the job!
There is no downside to asking for a job you want. You may feel uncomfortable. Practice what you’ll say. Stand or sit in front of a mirror and watch yourself. Better, rehearse with a friend and video yourself. Before long you won’t feel awkward.
If the company needs time, make a plan to follow up. What happens next in the process? Will they be assessing the people they spoke with? Or will there be a second or third meeting? What is the timeline? Be polite but don’t leave matters vague.
Establish the latest that you can expect to hear back. Confirm you can follow up after that time. Do so, even if you’ve found another job in the meantime. Show you follow through. Don’t burn any bridges.
Within a day of the meeting send a handwritten thank you. A quick email right after is fine. A card or note the person will keep on his desk keeps you front of mind.
If you got a flat out no, before you leave the meeting ask for referrals to other companies looking for someone with your qualifications. Most people don’t like rejecting a candidate so they’ll be happy to help if they can. You can’t lose anything by asking.
To get the job you want you’ll have to ask for it. Most likely, you’ll have to ask more than once. A proper follow plan and execution will make the process easier and more comfortable.
Do you think it’s better to know right away if you didn’t get a job?
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