Life’s surprises often come in small bunches but we reach out and snag them where we can. A job search is no different: That unexpected phone call from a hiring manager or that long awaited tip from a valued contact can give any job hunter a great boost, especially when you have worked hard on your search just to get an interview. So, with that in mind, what could be more unexpected, and yet very satisfying, than one of our members getting a job offer while he was actually at one of our weekly meetings of The Five O’Clock Club!
In fact, the unexpected did happen last Wednesday, May 23, when one of my small group members received an e-mail from a company with whom he had recently interviewed. Of course, my coaching colleagues and myself always make a point of not having a group member take calls or messages during our meetings since this would be disruptive to the meeting and the small group process. However, this particular member handled the e-mail message regarding the offer very discreetly and at a point which was not disruptive to the evening’s program.
The member in question, whom we will call Tom, is a Human Resources professional and had attended a total of only three sessions before getting the offer. However, starting with his first session in early May he dove right in and started reading the 5OCC books, worked with his small group in establishing his targets, worked on his assessment exercises, crafted his Two-Minute Pitch, and made some changes to his resume to better position himself for the type of work he wanted to do in HR. It should be noted that Tom had been out of work since October of last year, and had already started to network and generate some informational meetings and interviews before joining the 5OCC. The interviews Tom had been on were mostly a result of his strong HR background and credentials, but he had received no offers and knew he had to come up with techniques that would separate him from his competition.
When Tom first joined our small group and heard other members practice their Two-Minute Pitch, he had no idea how important a positioning statement was in not only generating interviews, but performing better when on them. He also discovered through his Seven Stories Exercise a number of work-related accomplishments that would strengthen his resume, and also become strong talking points in an interview. And, last but not least, through our meetings he gained a valuable lesson on the importance of sending out “influence letters” following his interviews to further strengthen his candidacy and increase his chances of turning job interviews into offers.
The offer Tom received was for an HR Generalist position in a major food services company, and he had met with two people, the HR manager who was responsible for filling the position and, interestingly enough, the General Manager and Controller of the facility to whom Tom would report. Tom knew he made a strong impact in his interviews with both managers, but based on the initial offer made to him, he also knew the compensation they were offering was on the low side. Based on his understanding of the full range of the job’s responsibilities, and his managers’ expectations of him fulfilling those responsibilities, Tom knew he had to negotiate a better compensation package.
Taking his cue from the 5OCC meetings, in addition to his initial follow-up influence letter, Tom contacted the HR manager and reiterated his understanding of the full scope of the job’s responsibilities, and he took the opportunity to share more of his background with some specific examples of his work to demonstrate he was not only up to the job, but could bring much more to the position given the expansion plans of the company. By the way, this follow up discussion had taken place earlier in the day of our Wednesday meeting.
So here is where our fairy tale ending of a story comes in: in the e-mail Tom got as we were breaking into our small group strategy sessions, he received a new offer with a much higher base salary. According to the HR manager’s e-mail, she had shared Tom’s follow-up call with the Vice President of HR who replied he had no idea that Tom’s background was that impressive, and authorized the higher starting salary. And what better venue to share this news than with his fellow 5OCClubbers. We know that life’s surprises come when we least expect them, and usually as the result of some well thought action. In Tom’s case, we saw how the 5OCC methodology gave Tom the added impetus to carry out his plan, and became the highlight of our evening as well as his own.