Go to Menu Outsmart The Employment System
By Nick Corcodilos

This article is an excerpt from Nick's best-selling 1997 book,
Ask The Headhunter: Reinventing the interview to win the job
(No longer in print.) Nick's newest books cover many of the ideas
discussed in this excerpt.

When I started the Ask the Headhunter forum on America Online in April 1995 a smart, talented fellow wrote to tell me what seems to be, sadly, a common story. After a frustrating year of job hunting, he paid a firm several thousand dollars to mass mail his resume to three thousand different companies in his field.

The outcome shocked him. "I haven't gotten even one reply, out of three thousand resumes and cover letters!" He was further distressed at having to come up with another five thousand dollars to hire a “job search” counselor to help with his quest for work. With nowhere else to turn – he had tried everything – he was putting himself in hock and grasping at straws.

This is the screeching halt the careers of millions of American workers have come to.

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Siince I wrote the original, self-published edition of this book a few years ago, I've heard stories of helplessness and frustration from thousands of job hunters. And they all share the same problem: while they're good at the work they do, they just can't navigate the murky employment system that seems bent on isolating them from the managers who need to hire them. No matter what industry they're in or where they live, the roadblock is always the same: “Send us your resume” and cop a chill. Don't call us, we'll call you. Next?"

It's the Employment System.
Don't accept this deadly sentence issued by human resources departments across America. By applying a few simple concepts used by headhunters, you can not only beat the system but win the kind of job you once thought was unattainable.

America's Employment System, which has brainwashed you into accepting its methods, is run by people who have absolutely no vested interest in your goals, or in an employer's. The Byzantine machine that chews up and spits out job descriptions, want ads, resumes, job candidates, interview appointments and rejection letters is useless and defunct. When you mail out a hundred resumes and get no replies, and when a hiring manager finds a stack of five hundred resumes on his desk, the System fails. When a company trusts personnel clerks who know nothing about engineering to select the engineers the firm will hire, something stinks. The right people aren't being hired and work is going begging while talented workers ride the Employment System treadmill.

Don't let the System dumb you down.
How does this system seduce an otherwise smart, productive professional like you into compliance? First, by being pervasive and intimidating. It confronts you daily through countless want ads, and it threatens you with the millions of your competitors it is soliciting. Second, it asserts itself at a point in your life when you're most vulnerable – when you need a new job. There's just too much at stake for you to buck the people who seem to be in control, so you politely answer idiotic questions like, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" when what you really want to say is, "Does this company keep people for five years?" But perhaps the main reason you accept the rules is because there seems to be no other choice.

Now you have a headhunter on your side.
Ask the Headhunter
is your new alternative. This book will help you get what you want by helping you understand what an employer needs. For decades, headhunters have known that the traditional approach to hiring the right people is deeply flawed. Headhunters have created an approach to matching the right person with a job that is so effective, employers pay us to circumvent the counterproductive policies of their own human resources departments. We get the job done. We find the right person for a job quickly and with minimal fuss and bother. Unlike the bureaucratic processes of the secure, salaried human resources manager, our methods work because they have to. If they don't, we don't eat. It's as simple as that. And headhunters eat well. Good headhunters cut to the essentials –  we deliver the job candidate who can prove he can do the work and do it profitably for himself and for the employer.

The immediate problem most job hunters face is that they can't hire a headhunter. Headhunters work only for companies, identifying and recruiting the new employees they need. That's why I wrote this book – to give you access to a resource most people can't get even if they could afford it.

Be your own headhunter.
Thousands of job hunters and employers have already learned how to beat the system through Ask the Headhunter workshops and the online Ask the Headhunter forum. You can use the headhunter's approach yourself to find and win the right job, without getting lost amidst the noise and nonsense of the frantic job market. Keep in mind that beating the system at its own game is a headhunter's full-time business, so learning these methods will take some dedicated effort on your part.

This book will teach you how the headhunter prepares and coaches a candidate to do the job to win the job, right in the interview. You'll learn how to clearly demonstrate that you can tackle the challenges an employer faces and add value to his bottom line. In other words, you'll avoid that “we'll-get-back-to-you" attitude that surfaces when a manager can't figure out whether hiring you would be a profitable investment.

There's no magic to this. To get a particular manager's attention, become an expert in his business, understand the work he needs done, and find out how he would want you to do it. Then walk in and prove to him that you're going to make his business more successful.

Do the job to win the job in The New Interview.
Sound like a lot of work? Well, so is that job you want. Why should convincing a manager to hire you be any less challenging than the job itself? It's up to you to prove your value to every employer you meet. Employers won't figure it out for themselves. Yet that's what your strictly historical resume is begging them to do, and the traditional interview can't help. (If you want to understand resumes in a radically new way, read Resume Blasphemy.) They won't ask you to demonstrate your worth because they, too, have been brainwashed to conduct a mind numbing interview rather than a roll-up-your-sleeves working meeting where the two of you can tackle a live problem that will reveal whether you're going to be a profitable employee. That's what I call The New Interview™.

Why do you need to learn about The New Interview? Because companies are rethinking the relationship between people, work, and profitability. I originally wrote this book, which was called The New Interview Instruction Book, to help the job hunter, but employers have started adopting The New Interview concepts to help them reinvent their own approach to hiring. Among the hundreds of companies already using the book are Merrill Lynch, Walt Disney World, Microsoft, Marriott, Blue Cross, MCI, Becton Dickinson, Mobil, and First Union Bank; and smaller businesses like Edison Brothers Stores, VECO Engineering and Rhino Records. Companies like these expect job candidates to step up to the plate and do the job in the interview. Are you ready to take that kind of control?

Take control.
Machiavelli once suggested that the way to succeed in any endeavor is to rely only on those resources over which you have control, and not to count on those over which you don't. When you shoot one thousand resumes through the mail or across the Internet, you have no control over who will read them or who will respond to you (if anyone). Could there even be one thousand jobs you would actually want? Do you know enough about them to decide? One thousand blind shots at success – blind because there's no way on earth you could prepare quickly enough for the one you might actually interview for. No control at all. Nothing to count on. That essentially random first step starts you down the road to your own interview funeral.

So what does a serious job hunter do? Take control the best way you know how – the way the headhunter does. Start your job search the same way you start your work day: with an assessment of exactly what work the employer needs done. Apply your considerable skills and talents to doing the necessary research and planning. In other words, figure out what it will take to do the job successfully. Then, when you meet the employer, don't wait for anyone to prod you: do the job, right there in the interview. Because if you don't, the candidate I coached will.

This article is the Introduction from Nick's best-selling book, Ask The Headhunter, which is still available in libraries. Nick's newest books, available via download, cover many of the concepts addressed in the original book.

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