Original post date: June 11, 2009
Last updated: December 17, 2020
I was in a job interview and I opened a book and started reading. The [HR recruiter] said, “What the hell are you doing?!” I said, “Look, I have one question for you. If you are in a spaceship that’s traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?” She said, “I don’t know!” I said, “Forget it, I don’t want the job.” – Stephen Wright
Submitting job applications online, waiting for responses after interviews, braving overcrowded job fairs…this is what most people may think of when imagining the necessary components of a job search.
But there is a better way: show the hiring manager directly the compelling work value you will provide. So says Nick Corcodilos, former headhunter and author of the book Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job.
A friend first referred me to this book just after starting a job search predicated by the 2009 market crash. If you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall getting nowhere in your job search, read this book.
One of the most important pieces of advice Nick Corcodilos offers is to focus on winning the right job by demonstrating your ability to do the job profitably in the interview.
You must replace the “I’m looking for a job” mindset in an interview with “I’m here to get the work you need done profitably.” In other words: You’re not there to “get a job,” but to “do the job in the interview.”
The April 13, 2009 Fortune magazine cover story by Jia Lynn Yang, How to Get a Job, featured a success story that read like the perfect Ask the Headhunter case study:
Halfway through the [final interview], [recently laid-off 55 year old sales manager Rob] Sparno and the [hiring] manager started discussing how to target a client Sparno had worked with before. The manager went up to the whiteboard to throw out some ideas, and Sparno leaped up to join him, until the two were standing shoulder to shoulder, markers in hand, batting strategies back and forth.
Mr. Rob Sparno, prepared relentlessly before the interview, successfully “did the job in his interview,” and yes, he landed a lucrative sales job during one of the worst global economic crises in recent memory.
Jia Lynn Yang’s article also underscores the sad reality of many job hunters spinning their wheels, struggling through sweaty, mass-of-humanity “job fairs” and sending out hundreds of resumes. As Yang observed, that’s not looking for a job; that’s buying a lottery ticket.
Instead of buying job search lottery tickets, get a job search business plan, namely Nick Corcodilos’ Ask the Headhunter book. And while Nick’s Ask the Headhunter website still looks like an early 2000’s website, it is in fact a treasure trove of valuable information for fellow job hunters fed up with the old school job search tactics and old school recruiting practices.