Forbes magazine recently published an article about ways to deal with today’s long job hiring process. Tip #6 was to “keep your job application pipeline full”. It goes on to explain that even if your ideal job seems within reach, you should keep networking and applying for jobs that are a good fit for your skills and experience .
Recently, one of my clients was in the running for the position of Chief Financial Officer at a company founded by two partners. He went through the initial interview and then was asked to return for a second interview with the head of operations. The third meeting was a round of golf and the fourth meeting was a dinner with the two partners and their wives. Even though I advised him to keep looking, he was so sure that he was going to get the job that he stopped all his other job search related activities.
The interview process was lengthy and all consuming. Unfortunately, this story didn’t have a happy ending for my client. The two partners could not agree that he was the right candidate for the position and consequently he was not offered the job. My client not only suffered the disappointment of not being asked to join the firm but by putting the rest of his job search on hold, he had lost his momentum and now had to ramp up all his job search activities once again.
As it states in the Forbes article, if you only have one prospect, you’ll obsess over it day and night. The best way to keep your sanity during a long interview process is by generating a steady flow of new opportunities. That way, you’ll feel like you’re making progress and you may uncover other interesting jobs as well. And, like it happened in this case, if you don’t get the job, you won’t be so far behind in your search.
“Too often, job seekers slow down their networking and hunting efforts once they are in process of being considered for a particular position. It can feel like a tremendous blow, especially when there are no other prospects in the pipeline,” writes Career Rocketeer contributor Harry Urschel. He goes on to say, “keeping a full pipeline of job opportunities you are pursuing is one of the best ways to maintain a positive mental attitude, take away fear and worry, and avoid great discouragement in your job search!”
The concept of a pipeline in job search comes from sales. Both the job search and the sales process have a cycle or flow of events from the beginning to the end or closing. In sales, you need to determine the target market, identify and cultivate prospects, and finally turn those prospects into opportunities. All of this should reflect the customer’s likelihood of buying what is being offered. Sales people map the opportunity stages to the buyer’s process, with distinct qualification requirements before moving on to the next stage.
The keys to success in both sales and job search are proper implementation of an effective plan, consistency, persistence and follow-up. Moving through the steps takes time and not every prospect is going to turn into an opportunity or job offer. It is necessary therefore to keep the pipeline continually full with new leads and potential opportunities.
The benefits of keeping your job pipeline full are numerous starting with remaining “top of mind” with your prospects. One way to do that is to leverage your past performance and your networking contacts to help you land that next job. It also gives you the chance to determine if the position being offered and the company making the offer are a good match with your desired future. And, with the added confidence of multiple opportunities, it gives you more bargaining power to negotiate the offer.
So, until you sign on the dotted line, don’t slow down your efforts. Continue to network, target companies that interest you, uncover additional opportunities, and follow-up with potential hiring managers. Keeping your job opportunity pipeline at full throttle is a great way to rev up your job search.