The Indecisive CEO
Dear J.T. & Dale: I recently went on an interview where the CEO indicated he wasn’t sure what kind of person he wanted to hire. He told me they were interviewing six people for the role. One month later, I found out he still hasn’t hired anyone because he’s still unsure of what he wants. What can I do to convince him I’m the gal for the job? — CARLEESA DALE: First, I hope you’re not sitting back waiting for this CEO to make up his mind. Do not put the search on hold while you wait to hear. A fundamental job-hunting mistake is stopping, going passive. If you get another offer, that’s when you have the leverage to pressure a hiring decision. J.T.: As a job seeker, you’re a business-of-one trying to sell your services to the CEO. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to reach out and offer to help clarify his needs, even if it means you don’t get the job. Say something like, “I know it’s been challenging determining what you need in this next hire. I was so impressed with you and the company, I hate the idea of this holding you back from your strategic growth. I’d love to come in and work with you to map out what you need and build the proper job description.” Going the extra mile and being collaborative could be just what he needs to realize you are the person to hire. DALE: Great plan. While the CEO might not take you up on your offer, he’ll know that you’re the kind of person who understands, cares and takes the initiative to be of help, which isn’t a bad description of a great employee. Dear J.T. & Dale: I got laid off from a job after six years. I panicked and took the first job offered to me. Three months later I was so miserable, I quit. Now it’s been six months, and I can’t seem to get hired. It seems each time I interview and explain I quit the last job because I hated it, they write me off. What can I say? — JOSH DALE: Here’s what a hiring manager sees: You got laid off. If the company closed, then this isn’t a major negative, but if it’s a cutback, the feeling is that the best employees are the least likely to get laid off. So there’s Doubt No. 1. You hated the last job and quit after three months. That causes a hiring manager to wonder if you’re the sort to get frustrated and walk out. Doubt No. 2. You’ve been unemployed for a while. In retail, they call it “shelf-worn.” In hiring, it raises the question: Why has everyone passed on this guy? Doubt No. 3. J.T.: Only one of those was because of Josh’s decision, and that’s where he can take some accountability for quitting. The hiring manager needs to feel certain you won’t do the same again. Showing you have learned and grown from your mistakes will put their minds at ease. JEANINE “J.T.” TANNER O’DONNELL is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. DALE DAUTEN is founder of The Innovators’ Lab. Visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Fl, New York, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.