From an unemployed professional
In my role as an executive search consultant I split my time between hiring managers who are trying to hire and candidates who are trying to get hired. As we continue our path toward economic recovery there are still deeply experienced, highly skilled executives who are trying to navigate their paths toward a new adventure. Some have been unemployed for a long time; others weathered the worst, but are finding themselves in transition recently. This is an open letter to hiring managers from one of those executives…..
Dear Hiring Manger:
I’m in unfamiliar territory here. Through my entire career, I’ve been gainfully and progressively employed and have enjoyed a successful career. I’ve only worked for 3 companies in my 25 year working life, because I enjoy my work, I’m good at what I do and I’ve been promoted as a result of my performance. Unfortunately, my last company suffered pretty deep losses as a result of the economic realities and I am – for the first time in my career, unemployed.
For the past 10 years I’ve been on your side of the desk. I’m the one reviewing resumes, fielding phone calls, pressed to hire with an already overflowing calendar – it wasn’t my favorite thing to do either. From this side of the desk however, I would tell you that all you have to do is make a decision and you can get me onboard – and I’ll help relieve the strain you are feeling.
I’m also not used to ‘being interviewed’. I’m usually the one doing the interviewing. As a result, I might come across as impatient or arrogant – again, that’s because I’ve been on your side of the desk – and not having to justify my experience or prove value in a dialogue. Let’s face it – I’m not good at looking for a job – because I haven’t ever done it before.
I’m also not very good at keeping my own schedule. In my past roles, I had infrastructure. I had an office manager or executive assistant who coordinated meetings, fielded phone calls and kept appropriate records. Now I’m doing all of this myself – and I think I might appear disorganized. I’m really not – I just have to adjust to tactical execution – and I’ve been accustomed to strategic thinking for the past decade. It’s an adjustment.
And then there is the whole HR process. I’m used to partnering with HR to accomplish tasks that need to be done in order to build my team, reward great performers and excuse those who aren’t. I’m not used to HR being a firewall between you; the hiring manager, and me; the candidate. I understand the role – but honestly, is it necessary to ignore my calls and fail to follow up when promised? It makes you look bad. This is something I will definitely address when I do find a new position.
Please don’t blackball me because I am not currently employed. It happened to millions of experienced professionals in the past few years. It may have even happened to you in the not too distant past. Remember, I’ve been successfully employed for 25 years – I didn’t JUST become stupid and unemployable. I have a lot of great ideas and energy in me and I just need a place to focus it – you won’t be sorry.
So, Mr. Hiring Manager, when we finally do agree that I am the individual you’ve been looking for let’s be fair with each other. Please don’t take advantage of the fact that I’m not working and will probably take a lower salary in order to STOP looking for a new position. If you do this – you will likely lose me to a competitor when the markets do fully recover – and it will be a business decision – nothing personal. Let’s join forces! Offer me compensation package that is commensurate with the value I will bring to your organization and you will have my loyalty – after all, you’ll be my 4th employer in 25 years – you already know I’ll stick around.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Signed…..An experienced executive caught in an uncomfortable transition.
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