Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 3 – Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities

Welcome to episode 55 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for unanticipated career opportunities, part 3, Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities.

Original Recording Date: 10-03-2019

Topics – Preparing for Unexpected Career Opportunities, Part 3 Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities

01:57 – A Review of Earlier Series Episodes

  • Go back and listen to part 1 and part 2 of this series if you missed them!
    • John gives a brief overview of what we covered in those episodes

03:23 – The Desire to Have a Conversation…Expressing Interest after Initial Contact

  • Scenario – Unsolicited contact / voluntary contact

    • What would it take to get you to make a change?

      • John reminds us that we should know the answer to this already. Revisit this frequently.
        • What do I like / not like, and what is the dream scenario?
        • Consider also…
          • Personal value
          • Satisfaction with compensation
          • Amount of travel
          • Different, interesting role (perhaps in a different industry)
          • A specific company of interest
          • Remember to Dream in Bands
    • 6:34 What questions should you ask during this first conversation?

      • Find out exactly what the hiring process looks like. Get all of the details from first contact to offer letter.
        • Highlight your relevant experiences through the lens of what this new company is looking for in candidates. Does your LinkedIn profile reflect this? It should.
      • What does the company want in an ideal candidate? Understand exactly what the position is. Figure it out now to avoid later surprises.
      • What is the timeline to fill this position?
        • How many others have been screened for this and presented to the hiring manager? Know where you are in the pool (if possible) to set proper expectations.
          • Recruiters may not be extremely honest about this to cast a wider net. John shares his experiences here.
          • The goal is to get past this gatekeeper to talk to the next person in line (likely the hiring manager).
          • As much as we’d like to, don’t hold the company responsible for how timely the recruiter is in getting back to you. On the other hand, if the hiring manager isn’t timely, you have no reason to believe they’d treat you any differently if you’re hired. Weigh that in your decision to move forward.
          • Keep in mind the recruiter’s job is to make a placement. Their job is to get qualified candidates into the funnel.
      • Go back and listen to Episode 2 on early process interviews
    • 15:07 Why should you move forward in the process after this first conversation if you’re still not looking for a job?

      • It’s good to keep practice interviewing. Most of us do not do this as part of our jobs.
        • Be prepared for common scenario questions. Many of them are about dealing with adversity. It’s important to have specific behavioral examples as answers.
      • You still may not understand why they called you originally and didn’t get clarification from the recruiter.
      • 21:04 Should you leverage this for a raise at your current company?
        • If you do this, you have to be prepared to take an offer from a new employer.
        • Doing this means you are on your way out / thinking of leaving your current employer.
        • Does doing this exhibit a good image to your current employer? You could potentially damage your brand with these actions.
        • Compensation should be coming up in 1-1s with your manager. Find out how can he / she justify the raise for you.
          • If your manager does not want to or won’t have this conversation, it could be a red flag and time to move.
      • 26:22 Beware of the boss. If this opportunity came from within the company where you currently work, the manager could find out without you realizing.
        • If it is something you are going to pursue seriously, there comes a time where it makes sense to let your manager know. It’s a judgement call on your part.
        • Communicate necessity of confidentiality with the person you’re speaking with if you’re afraid of your manager finding out.
  • 28:17 Scenario – Involuntary

    • If you are unemployed, unexpected opportunities may seem more optimal than they would in a different situation.
    • The pressure is on, especially if you are not financially ready. Sometimes you just need a job.
      • Proceed with necessary steps to get your resume in order and go from there. There’s no magic to it.
      • If you can, know your interests before you are in this situation.
      • It’s ok to target a dream job after you get a job that pays the bills.

35:37 – A Brief Review of Interview Tips

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