Interviewing is lifestyle insurance for you and your family

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Maximizing your lifetime earnings means playing heads up ball… especially when the economy is good and things are just hunky dory, as they are now.

You’re probably feeling pretty good about the economy and your situation in life right about now.

Unemployment for the college educated is bumping along at two percent.  And government reports say the time it takes to find a job is down to 8 weeks.  That’s compared to 14 weeks five years ago and 26 weeks (ouch!) at the height of the recession.

So the last thing on your mind might be interviewing when things are so good.  There’s no need! Everything is great right where you are!

But with football in the air, let me share with you some thoughts on why you should use this August as your training camp, {firstname}.

The most important reason is interviewing is lifestyle insurance for you and your family.

Look, you never know when the next recession is going to hit.  But you do know that recessions have turned into ugly bears that can literally destroy any company, no matter how famous or successful it seemed to be at the time.  Just talk to any of the infamous bankruptcies’ survivors: the employees of Lehman, or GM, or Chrysler, or Charter, or Tribune.

Do you think they saw it coming? 

No, ma’am!

So you need to be prepared with an escape plan, and insurance policy, a safety parachute in case the Grim Reaper comes for your company.

The core of your recession insurance policy is interviewing.

There is nothing you can do for your family and yourself that is more important than interviewing when times are good.

And that’s because interviewing now is easy.  You’ll get a chance to meet all sorts of people at companies that could hire you if things go wrong.  

And those people, contacts, interviewers and connections are the folks you’ll want to contact when the economy turns sour.  Could be a year, could be a decade. I can’t tell you, nobody can tell you, when the next recession is going to happen.

But there will be one, and it may devour your company, chuck your job, toss you to the curb. Maybe.

The time to prepare is now.  When summer’s high and the living is easy.

What does this mean practically?

Pick 12 companies you might like to work at next.  They could be smaller, larger, more innovative, more established, out of town, or right at home.

When you have a list of 12, go interview at each.  Especially if you’re not looking right now, interview at 12 companies over the next couple years.  At the pace of one per quarter, it’ll cover three years of insurance for you.

2019 is an extraordinarily difficult year for hiring.  Companies and recruiting professionals are willing to bend over backward to get qualified candidates in the door to interview.  That’s certainly what we’re hearing from our friends in recruiting, and probably what you’re hearing from your own HR department.  

That makes this year the rare career opportunity where demand is so high, and supply so low, that you ought to be able to get casual interviews at any company reasonably within your field.

You can paint yourself as interested but not ready to jump by saying “Even if I’m not looking for anything at the moment, I love what you guys do and I’d like to know what type of opportunities you have for professionals like me, and how often they come up.”

In the current environment, “passive” candidates such as this are fair game, and companies will interview them.

By interviewing at your dozen target companies, you’ll get to meet and know dozens of potential future peers and bosses, learn the name of the head of recruiting for your area and shake her or his hand.

Taking this exploratory approach, you’ll avoid desperation at a later date, and turn these initial conversations into open-ended dialogues.  It’s simply tough for HR to say “no” to someone who approaches with this open and inquiring attitude given the environment.

Concretely, you’d like to know what the demand for someone like you is over the coming years:

  • What types of opportunities does your company have for professionals like me?
  • How often do you hire in my area? How many would you say per year?
  • Do you have professionals like me in many different groups and teams, or are they concentrated in one particular area of your business?
  • What are your general pay ranges for this kind of role?  (and if they demur…) — if you could share a little with me, that might help save both our time.

Over a three year horizon, you’ll have interviewed at a dozen companies.  When the next downturn comes, and your company finds itself snatched from this mortal coil, you’ll have 12 lifelines that you can reactivate in case of emergency.

And that’s just smart planning for your family, for your career, and for you.

Have a great August week, Readers!

I’m rooting for you,

Marc Cenedella, Founder