We decided to turn the tables. So we asked employers across industries how much time had passed since they were thrown into the job search process. The majority admitted that it had been at least 15 years, which proved our theory that job seeking is foreign territory to most employers. This poses a massive problem for both parties. Because most employers are unaware of the challenges involved in a comprehensive job search today, job seekers shouldn’t assume that potential employers understand the confusion, frustration, and low self-confidence they struggle with during the hiring process. But when these emotions reveal themselves during an interview, employers see a lack of competence, and candidates find themselves out of luck. The lack of understanding between employers and candidates results in fear on both ends. This emotional disconnect becomes the biggest obstacle long-term unemployed job seekers face.
HOW TO OVERCOME EMPLOYER FRUSTRATIONS:
1. Put employers at ease. First, employers want to know:
- Why are you looking for a job?
- Are you looking for money or experience?
- Employers view a job opening as a problem that needs to be fixed. They are wondering if you are the solution to their problem
2. Address the job gap. Be prepared to explain to employers the reason behind a resume gap. Don’t assume the employer knows you were downsized or the company closed. Give them all the information upfront.
- Don’t give excuses. Employers get frustrated when they hear, “I have been looking for a job, but the economy is tough.”
- Approach this as an opportunity. This is the time to share how you respond to adversity. They want to know that you can adapt to change and come out of a negative situation with a positive outlook. Let them know that you have been keeping your skills polished for the right opportunity to come along.
- Tip: Hiring an interview coach can help you navigate this question.
3. Appearance matters. The first impression says a lot to an employer, and it begins with appearance. Dress professionally – get a haircut, iron your shirt, shave.
4. Be prepared. The busiest people are always the unemployed. The easiest way to lose an opportunity is not being prepared for the interview. Job seeking is a full-time job in and of itself. You need to be organized and ask the right questions.
5. The employer is not your shrink. When an employer considers a candidate who has been unemployed for some time, the interview often turns into a soap opera, where candidates complain about how they’ve been treated poorly in the past or how much they miss working for their previous employer. Both topics are immediate turn-offs in the eyes of a potential employer.
At APA Solutions and Career Reform, we put unemployed people back to work everyday, but it is only with extensive career coaching that we are able to get through to job seekers. That means, enlightening them on their own strengths and weaknesses within the workplace, teaching them how to speak “employer,” and helping them tell their story in an engaging way. Bottom line: only when candidates have developed a real career plan applicable to the needs of today’s top employers can they truly land a position with the right employer in the right field.