How to prep for each job search phase

How to mentally prepare for each job search phase…

As we enter the last week of the month (which also brings the final posts in our special January series), it’s time to prepare for each phase of your job search. Today’s advice comes from Kourtney Whitehead, via Forbes.

Most career advice articles largely focus on the practical side of job hunting, from CV writing to interviews. All very necessary! However, it’s rare to find articles that explore the emotional and mental aspects of your search.

After all, as Whitehead suggests, job searches can be long and stressful at times. Particularly if you’re searching for roles in a new field or you work within a particularly competitive industry. Yet a little bit of mental prep can help you feel far more in control and may minimise some of the stress along the way.

Prepping for each job search phase…

1. Getting started

This is described as the easiest phase, due to your increased levels of energy and optimism. As Whitehead says, “few things in life will transform your daily experience faster than finding a new job.”

The first phase starts as soon as you’re actively working on your job search, for instance updating your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Your first mental challenge: fighting the urge to procrastinate. Fear of rejection may stop you from getting going as quickly as you could. The advice is to get started ASAP so as not to extend your search. Don’t let your CV efforts delay you either – focus your attention on tailoring your CV to the most appealing roles, as well as checking for errors.

Tip: don’t get too bogged down in how your CV looks either. A clean and classic layout is often far more reader-friendly than a heavily designed format. Visit our downloads page for more straight-forward CV Advice.

2. Finding leads

This is the most time and energy-intensive aspect phase of your job search. It’s now that you’ll be making contact with prospective employers via jobs boards, recruitment agencies, and similar. You may also soon be fielding calls and juggling interview requests.

Your second mental challenge: reaching out to others for help and being prepared for applications and conversations that don’t lead to results. This phase can leave job-seekers feeling ‘vulnerable’, yet it’s also the stage that Whitehead describes as “the bridge between dreaming for a new job and having your chance to sell yourself during an interview.”

She reminds that this is also the longest stage for most job-seekers. Again, the advice here is to prepare for these feelings and press on.

Tip: finding an expert recruitment consultant that you can really trust and open up to may help reduce some of that vulnerability (as well as giving you access to industry insights and some of the best local employers in your field!). The REC member directory is a great place to start, alongside checking Testimonials and Google Reviews.  

3. Converting opportunities

It’s now that you’re attending interviews, which can prove stressful for many candidates.

Your third mental challenge: second-guessing every aspect of your interview performance. This may include replaying your interview questions and answers on repeat in your mind and picking yourself apart for every perceived wrong.

Whitehead suggests that before each of your interviews you “promise yourself that you will do your best and then choose to be satisfied with wherever that leads you.”

Tip: remember, even if you’ve just been rejected from a role, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Seek feedback where you can (your Recruitment Consultant should assist with this) and move on to the next opportunity.

4.  The negotiations

This is the stage where you’ve received a job offer yet may be faced with a negotiation. You’ll see that many job vacancies indicate a salary range as opposed to a single salary figure. The end offer tends to depend on your experience level.

Your fourth mental challenge: facing negotiations when your salary worth perceptions differ from your prospective employer’s. You may feel pressure and anxiety around your abilities to negotiate and/or the fear of losing the opportunity.

Whitehead advises against undervaluing yourself and failing to negotiate at this stage.

Tip: before applying for roles, it’s worth having a really honest discussion with your Recruitment Consultant about your salary expectations. They can advise what’s realistic for your skills and experience to date and will, in many cases, do much of the salary discussion on your behalf, dependent on individual client arrangements.

We hope you already feel better prepared to start your job search. For further advice, catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page for more tips. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for opportunities



4 signs you’ve found (or are) the right candidate!

How to know whether you’ve found (or are!) the right candidate for the job – a post for employers and job-seekers…

Last week, Onrec published a post that we knew we had to feature in our January series. It’s titled: ‘Think you’ve found the right candidate? 4 signs every employer should look for.’

While the piece is clearly targeted at employers and HR Managers, it also offers valuable reading for job-seekers. After all, one of the most vital tools in your job search is the ability to understand what businesses are looking for – allowing you to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

Onrec’s advice is perhaps surprisingly simple. You may think that each of these four signs would be a given when attending interviews. However, it’s the people who can do these things particularly well (and most genuinely!) who really stand out.

The 4 signs that you could be the right candidate are…

1. Exuding enthusiasm:

True enthusiasm can really help you set you apart from your competitors. This includes an enthusiasm about your experience to date, alongside the opportunity to bring your experiences into the role you’re discussing. The best bit? The Onrec article highlights how achievable this is, regardless of your interview nerves.

Tip: before attending any interviews, spend some time considering what you’re most enthusiastic and excited about at this point in your career. What’ve you most enjoyed about your previous work and what are you looking forward to doing next? Make notes and discuss with friends if this helps you to become more comfortable in expressing your positivity.

2.  You’ve swotted up:

You need to show that you’ve swotted up on each business you’re interviewing for. This isn’t just about proving you understand the company and its purpose, yet also showing you’re proactive and prepared.

Tip: even if it’s a last-minute interview request, you can have a good look at the company website. Keep a close watch for any mentions of company goals, aims, working ethos or similar. Got longer to prepare? Visit social media feeds, research news items about the company, industry trends and more. This tip also ties into the ‘Proactivity’ point in this post.

3. Seeing flaws as growth opportunities

The most well-rounded candidates can take an honest look at themselves and see how their downfalls can be used as areas of improvement. It helps if you can give real-life examples of times you’ve turned a flaw or failure into a learning and development opportunity.

Tip: try to brainstorm something other than perfectionism (the most popular weakness that’s become something of an interview cliche!). Think of a challenge you’ve overcome, which trait this represented, and how you overcame it and/or the steps you’re currently taking to improve. Again, express enthusiasm for your personal development rather than shame for being human in the first place!

4. Communicating well

Onrec’s final point also ties in well with the ‘Empathy’ trait in this article. You want to communicate clearly and positively with every person you encounter throughout your recruitment process.

This goes beyond your interview conversations and extends into any emails, calls and/or texts you exchange. Not to mention those non-verbal communications with anyone you pass in the interview building.

Tip: always give yourself space to re-read any written comms before firing them off to a prospective employer. You can also stand out by sending interview thank you notes – here’s some advice on how to do this if you’re working with a recruitment agency.

Catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page to see the latest instalments. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn