I rarely write a newsletter article or blog post with a title that has an exclamation point at the end of it. However, I’m making an exception with this article. That’s because I believe very strongly in the subject matter and the impact that it can have on a person’s career.
During my time as a search consultant and recruiter, I’ve witnessed candidate behavior all the way through the hiring process, from the beginning to the end. In addition, I’ve witnessed every type of behavior, from the very best to the very worst to the most confusing and everything in between. Needless to say, after witnessing all of this, I have a rather good idea of what works well . . . and what doesn’t.
And as you might imagine, I have plenty of stories and case studies that illustrate this. For the purposes of this blog post, though, I’m going to present just one.
This is the year 2018
Once upon a time, one of our clients was in the process of setting up video interviews with candidates as the next step in the organization’s interview process. This meant, of course, that these video interviews were quite important. If a candidate wanted to proceed to the next stage of the process, they had to perform well.
Unfortunately, the hiring manager emailed me shortly after the process began to let me know that one of the candidates was having trouble accessing a webcam for the interview. As a result, they weren’t able to participate in the video interview. That was problematic, to say the least.
This is the year 2018. Accessing a webcam is not extraordinarily difficult. Many laptops are sold with webcams already installed as part of the hardware. You can also purchase webcams separately at an electronics store such as Best Buy. I’d be willing to bet that Amazon sells them, as well. Heck, I’m pretty sure that a smartphone can also be used for a video interview.
The bottom line is this: the candidate encountered what might be considered a problem. The candidate experienced difficulty solving that problem, and then they communicated to the hiring manager that they were having difficulty.
What impression do you think the hiring manager had of the candidate? Probably not a good one. Probably not one that would convince them that this was the right person for the job.
Hiring: a problem-solving activity
I’ve discussed this before in other articles and blog posts, but Animal Health and Veterinary employers want candidates who know how to solve problems. After all, that’s why they’re hiring in the first place. The organization has a problem (or problems) and company officials believe that hiring an employee (or employees) will provide a solution. In fact, Animal Health and Veterinary organizations not only want employees who can solve problems, but they also want employees who can solve multiple problems and solve them quickly.
So the question is this: did the candidate in my case study brand themselves as somebody who can solve problems and solve them quickly? I’d think you would agree that the answer to that question is “No.” Unfortunately, the candidate branded themselves (perhaps unknowingly) as somebody who provides excuses when faced with a problem or obstacle. That is NOT the way to brand yourself, and that applies to just about any situation, regardless of whether it’s personal or professional.
Another subject about which I’ve written extensively is value. That’s because everything in the employment marketplace comes down to value. Employers hire candidates to become employees because they believe those candidates possess value and they want to benefit from that value. Remember, employers are making an investment when they hire, and they certainly want a return on that investment. They don’t hire people just for fun.
The ability to solve problems is a form of value. In fact, it’s incredibly valuable. Employers can’t get enough of those candidates who are able to solve problems. There are plenty of problem creators in the world today. Sadly, there is a shortage of problem solvers.
Not genius . . . just tenacious
So if you want to impress an Animal Health or Veterinary employer, one of the best ways to do so is to brand yourself as a problem solver. Do NOT brand yourself as someone who is incapable of overcoming obstacles and instead provides excuses for why you did not achieve the desired results. Branding yourself in that fashion does not result in receiving an offer of employment. It will result in a “Thank you for your time” email. If you’re lucky.
Keep in mind that you should be branding yourself in the correct fashion all throughout the hiring process. This includes during the phone screening, the video interview (as discussed above), and the face-to-face interview. It can even include the offer stage. The candidate in my case study probably thought that it was a small issue and that it really didn’t matter that much. The reality was quite the opposite. It did matter much, and it affected their candidacy.
This doesn’t mean that you’re a genius who can solve every problem that you encounter. It means that you tackle problems head-on and solve them one way or another, no matter what it takes. It means that you’re focused, tenacious, and committed. Employers crave these characteristics in candidates and in their employees.
So how are you branding yourself, both to your current employer and also to potential future employers? As a problem solver? Or as a problem creator? Does your current employer know your true value as an employee? How do you communicate that value on a consistent basis?
These are all great questions to ask about your employment situation. That’s because the answers to these questions are integral to ensuring success, not just with your current job, but also with your career.
The rules are simple. Solve problems. Provide value. And don’t make excuses.
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.