Pay Attention to a Company’s Courting Style

I’ve always found there to be great symmetry between job searching and dating. Actually, I think dating would be a lot easier – or quicker decision making – if you just handed the person your life resume and cut to the chase.

The two processes really are similar, so is the anxiety. When you are going through the interview process and wondering about every little thing, like you’re completely exposed and vulnerable. Like that terrible dream where you’re naked in front of you high school or college class.

Oh, and the rejection – let’s not forget about that. The  friend zone. We really like you, just not for this job. Even better, the ghosting and catfishing! It just gets better and better!

A lot of those decisions and actions taken by a potential employer you have no control over – and most don’t even have anything to do with you.  But this doesn’t mean that you are powerless here.

Your best weapons are your power of observation and intuition.

One point that I want you to especially pay attention to is the courting phase, i.e. interviewing.  Like a client of mine who was just given the phone screen questions (literally labeled this) to complete and email back to the internal recruiter.

Wow.

Here’s the thing, if a company isn’t very nice or respectful to you during the interview phase, what do you think they are going to be like if you take the job?

Think about it – the interview phase is when everyone is trying their best to get the other party to like them. You and them. So if a company is treating you poorly, how much worse will it be when you join?

If they are going to require you to complete a 10-page document with detailed questions  – but not read it and make you repeat everything you wrote during a 15 minute follow up call, well, that’s just rude. They are being disrespectful, dishonoring your time and those actions scream out that their time is way more valuable than yours. Is that the kind of environment you want to be in every working day?

What about the company that gives veiled threats to pressure you to hurry up and answer or return information only to ghost you for weeks with a response or what’s next?

Some companies treat you as though you should be thanking them for talking to you. Really?

If you are going through the process and you’re getting the ick feeling in your stomach, listen to it. If something feels off, it very well could be. At this point, remind yourself that this is a two-way process. You want to make sure this is a good fit for you.

And, I know there are some people out there that are just not great at interviewing or following up. If you are interacting with a few people and all are great except that one – then you need to take a step back. Look at the situation – is that one person just a bit of a ding-a-ling? Are you going to report to them? Do they really reflect the organization or team as a whole?

But if it is a vibe or treatment from everyone you interact with or really strong from one person you’re dealing with,  nope.

If their courting (interviewing process) is disrespectful, the marriage (working for them) is probably going to be miserable.

Run, baby, run. There are more fish in the sea and you deserve better than Charlie Tuna.

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I help amazing people get career happy and client-centric companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Business, Brand

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

Effective Cover Letters/Poetic Love Letters – There is Something To This…

Beyond the obvious aspects of always being on your best behavior and trying to impress the person across the table there are interesting similarities to dating and job searching. Luckily for my boys I will not be using them as an example; instead I’ll use myself and my fiancé, Manuel.

In August of 2011 Manuel and I are getting married. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, it is. It took over twenty years, but we are back together and making those around us a little nauseous with our absolute devotion, admiration, love and respect for each other. We have even been told our pictures look like those fake ones companies put in picture frames, we just do not seem real because we are “too happy”. We courted all those years ago and continue to do so today.

When Manuel and I were dating at the ripe age of 18 we did not have cell phones or internet and we both had jobs. So when we first began to get to know each other we wrote a lot of letters. We took our time and crafted each one purposefully to share glimpses of ourselves, get to know each other; in other words we courted each other. Your cover letter should be approached in a similar way. Your cover letter is like a love letter without the ooey gooey of course.

Most people I speak to in my workshops hate writing cover letters and nine times out of ten the reason is: “I don’t know what to say.” Try thinking of the cover letter as a courtship letter or love letter to someone you do not know but that you are introducing yourself to with the hopes of getting to know them better.

If you send a cover letter that states something to the effect that you are attaching your resume because you saw their ad on Career Builder, well then you have basically said one of three things

1. “My buddy said you’re cute, want to get a pizza?”
2. “I like you, do you like me: circle Yes or No”
3. “I’m sorry to bother you, I’m sure you don’t want to go out with me anyway.”

Not too impressive.

Your cover letter must show there are similarities between the position and you. Show them that you have commonalities; you belong together – without going overboard of course. If you have nothing in common why on earth would they want to meet you? Do you have the exact qualities that they are looking for in a candidate? Then tell them, show them, explain it to them, court them.

Do they want someone with solid experience? Give them something to whet their appetite before reading your resume. Narrate an example of how you absolutely succeeded when dealing with similar situations, budgets, environments – lead them down the path to your door.

Do your homework, research the company, their core philosophies, their clients, the industry. Have they recently been mentioned in the news, expanded, reorganized, merged, had a recent success, does the company values resonates with yours? These can all be written into your cover letter. Manuel did his homework and knew yellow roses were my favorite: big bonus points when he showed up at my door with a beautiful bouquet. Research shows interest.

Do you really want to meet? Do not assume that they know you want the job and why. One of the complaints I hear from hiring managers and HR reps is that they have too many candidates that apply that do not qualify for the position. When they receive resumes, which are numerous, they are a little skeptical. They run across people that apply but only do so because they have to or just to say they did something. Make sure the recipient knows you want the date, the interview, and convince them that you are worthy.

Impress me. I am a huge baseball fan – specifically a huge Cubs fan. I’ve been a fan since Jody Davis was behind the plate, the Penguin was in the infield and Leon Durham dominated the outfield. Manuel impressed me by writing stories about when he played ball or teased me about my staunch belief that American league is not real baseball. (Pitchers should bat and National League is more defensive. But that’s another story.)

When writing your resume you should be thinking about accomplishments you can utilize to emphasize your abilities. When doing this remember to save something for the cover letter. If you give me a great example in your cover letter I am going to be excited to read more in your resume. If I am reading your resume and see the same example I will be a bit disappointed and possibly think, “This is all you have?” You are not one dimensional, neither should your accomplishments be.

Mind your manners. Use appropriate business language, remember this isn’t a note to pass in class; this is an important business introductory letter. Remember to express gratitude for the person taking the time to read your cover letter and resume. Show interest in following up with them to discuss your abilities, skills, added values in more detail at their convenience.

A well written cover letter will interest the reader into wanting to find out more about you and lead to them reading your resume. This in turn will, if written well, further intrigue or impress them to meet with you to find out more. Take your time, do your homework and remember to tailor it to each individual position for which you are applying. No one wants to receive the same love letter that their friends received! This takes time and practice. Over twenty years of writing love letters and Manuel can still take my breath away.