Don’t let your job search define who you are

The latest survey of consumer confidence shows that people think it’s easier to get a job now than anytime in the past 16 years. Some 32.8% of those surveyed in June say jobs are “plentiful,” according to the Conference Board, the privately run publisher of the report. But what about the people who have either given up looking or can’t find the “right” job?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that optimism about finding a job is running high. Job openings are at a record peak and the unemployment rate recently fell to 4.3% , also the lowest level since 2001. More and more companies complain they cannot find enough skilled workers to find open jobs.

The percentage of consumers who say jobs are “hard to get,” what’s more, is also at a 16-year low of 18%. The last time it was lower was in August 2001, when 16% of American agreed.

While it sounds great we should remember that there are a lot of people who are the “working dead”. These are people who go to work and take home checks, but they aren’t engaged by their employers.  The 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report, which covered more than five million employees at over 1,000 organizations around the world, showed that less than one quarter of employees are highly engaged and 39% are moderately engaged.

It should come as no surprise that over 50% of employees are looking for work.  They aren’t happy with their current jobs and feel that job title and salary do little to alleviate their daily grind into the office.

This brings me Sara.  Sara has been out of work for 5 months now and is looking for something more “than just a job”.  She has had several interviews but when she finds a company that she really wants to grow with she has been mistreated by company recruiters. “You can’t help but wonder if it’s you or something you did or didn’t do” she told me.  “After a while I was really getting down on myself until I interviewed with a company in Boston”, she continued.  “First employees had no privacy at all and everyone’s work station looked like it had been hit by a huge wind storm”.  She learned that most people got into the office at 7:00am and didn’t leave till after 8:00pm.  “I thought it would be a great place to work, but obviously, even though it was named as one of Boston’s best employers, it was a churn and burn factory”.

Today Sara said that she doesn’t let rejections bother her.  “I know the value I bring to employers and I know my capabilities, so I’m not concerned anymore”.

Last Spring I interviewed for a VP’s position which was perfect for me.  However, when I met with the hiring manager I quickly learned that she had no digital marketing experience and the metrics that she thought were excellent for her brand’s website were actually pretty bad.  When I pointed out that there was a lot of room for improvement she was taken back and I was later told that she felt “threatened by me and my experience”.  So be it, their loss.

Never let a recruiter define your self worth.  There are a lot of bad ones out there and it’s hard to find a recruiter who treats you as a person rather than just a body to fill an open position.  The best advice I can give is to be yourself during an interview and don’t be swayed by titles or packages.  A great salary is not going to make up for a really bad work environment.

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