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Part 2 - ux job seeking is like dating

March 2019 – Joanne Weaver

In Part 2 of her article, Award-winning UX recruiter Joanne Weaver tells UXswitch.com how searching for your next UX role is rather like searching for the love of your life.

Don’t forget to read Part 1 before you leave.

Never speak ill of your ex. Never.

You may “yeah yeah” this one, thinking it’s Interviewing 101, but this one comes up a lot more than you’d think, across all seniority levels.

Look, obviously you’re not entirely thrilled with your current situation, if you’re in a full time role or longterm freelance situation and you’re interviewing elsewhere. Your interviewer knows it, you know it, and it’s OK to be unhappy to the point it’s prompting you to date around.

But even though the urge to speak about the ills of your current job – or more likely, your current boss – may be irresistible, resist. Potential employers know that one offhand, negative comment belies a whole Pandora’s box of bad stuff, and all it does it end up making you look petty and unable to navigate professional waters successfully, even though you may be the furthest thing from it. So this is your opportunity to practice polishing a turd, and turn that frown upside down! You might get a whole new perspective on past frustrations and thank them for making you who you are today.

Make a list! What sucked about your last jobs (left column), what did you learn from it (middle column), and most importantly, what are you clear on what you DO want now (right column)? Employers will sniff out if you’re running away to something, anything, to escape, and they’ll also sniff out and appreciate if you have a clear idea of where you want to go and can use your past experiences as fuel to propel you forward. A sample:

Micromanagey boss => “I’m currently seeking an empowered environment where I can take ownership of projects, and where I can have a strong, formative relationship with my manager. Having a great relationship with them and the rest of my team is super important to me.”

Ineffective or squabbling leadership at the helm => “I’d like to join up with a place that has a strong leadership team that’s operating under a shared vision, and where they have the business acumen to ensure the continued success and evolution of the company.” You get the idea.

If it’s just too weird not to address the huge elephant in the room, and you really feel you have to mention something less than stellar about a past role, keep it to ONE sentence, and use the sandwich technique: Say one good thing first => Briefly mention the bad thing => End with another good thing, so the listener is left feeling good.

Carl W Beuhner (not Maya Angelou as commonly thought) said, “They may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Balance “I” versus “We”.

We hear this one a lot. Clients will give us post-interview feedback that the candidate spoke about themselves and of their own achievements and not about the team, so they may pass because they don’t feel you’re bringing that team spirit and collaboration to the team. Alternatively, use “we” too much, and the client walks away from the interview scratching their head, because they don’t know what your own contributions are….and they’re hiring you, not the team. Keep “I” versus “we” balanced 50/50 when talking through your past projects and success stories. (and those success stories are nice and chock full of metrics, right? Slipping in another piece of advice here while I’m at it.)

Once a player, always a player?

You’ve played the field and left a trail of broken hearts in your wake – can you change your player ways?

Job hopping from place to place, with 1-2 years or less at most of your past full time jobs, may start to catch up with you. Employers and recruiters call such a background “skippy”, and it may create some trust issues around you sticking it out after they invest time and energy into you.

As a skippy resume will provide a hurdle to getting that first interview, and thus the ability to explain the full story of what happened, do all you can on the resume itself to overcome objections. Ensure every freelance job is labeled such in your title. If the company folded or your entire team got laid off, you may want to include that as the last bullet for that job.

If you did most of the leaving, be prepared to explain it in an interview if you’re asked, in a non-defensive, generative way. But, you may want to rethink your approach this time, and only join up with places where you really could see yourself longterm, and thoroughly – but nicely, with no venom –  ask your interviewers in a later-round interview about aspects of the job you have questions about, and want to ensure you’ll avoid past pitfalls.

If you feel like you keep coming up against the same issues job after job, and those issues are the ones that make you want to leave, it’s best to figure those issues out on a deeper level, heal it, and not run away from it – that might come from therapy, coaching, or simply sticking it out on the job to come out the other end better and wiser for it.

If you were let go in each of those roles … own up to the fact that the common denominator is you, but also take heart. Drain yourself of blame and shame (they only keep you more stuck and you don’t need ‘em), and replace it with loving-kindness towards yourself. Intuit the major themes and similarities bubbling up from the firings, take responsibility for the role you played in it, and move forward.

Turning the tables: if it’s the employer that’s been a bit of a player, and they’ve had quite a bit of turnover lately, do some digging. Hop on LinkedIn and see who you know who’s worked there or knows someone who works there, and try to hook up a 5-10 minute phone call with that person to get the real scoop. They’ll probably be impressed by your due diligence and want to help you. As you spend approximately 2/3 of your waking life at work, it’s important to get it right.

Be the dumper, not the dumpee

Even if you’re not really sure you want a particular job during the interview process, bring your A game each time you meet with the company. That way, you increase the chances that it’s you, not them, who holds the reins when making a decision about moving forward together or not. It’s not an ego or pride thing, necessarily. It’s you giving yourself the most opportunities to choose from out there, and you’re creating goodwill and a positive, professional impression while you’re doing it.

Don’t ghost, and don’t tolerate ghosting

I get so mad when I hear from candidates I’m representing that a company or another recruiter just never got back to them after an interview. Did they forget what it’s like being on the other side of the interview table, wondering how you did and if they liked you or not? It’s unconscionable.

I’d suggest not working with a recruiter ever again who ghosts you, and to do your homework upfront on which recruiters are the good eggs vs. not. They’re representing you and your brand out there in the market, so choose wisely.

Likewise, it goes without saying to never ghost a company, or your recruiter. They have feelings too, and they might be getting quite attached to you, and it’s a small world – people talk, and that can only mar your reputation, or come up later to bite you in the butt when that hiring manager or recruiter has something you want. Do the human thing and be in communication with people within 24 hours from your last touchpoint with them. If you’re turning a role down, keep it brief and professional, and thank them for their time and interest. Keep the reasons you’re declining to continue as vague and non-personal as possible….even if that last interviewer was a total verbal bulldozer and “mansplained” the whole time. Your reputation is super important, and karma’s no joke.

Don’t forget to read Part 1 before you leave.

Coming next week ….. How Your UX Job Search is Just Like Dating – Part 3

Source link https://www.uxswitch.com/part-2-how-your-ux-job-search-is-just-like-dating/


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