There is an old saying, “When you catch the bus…stop running.” As a job seeker, there is some wisdom in that. I have frequently mentioned Dirk Spencer. In Dirk’s words, “When the hiring manager likes your answer to an interview question….shut up!” Dirk says that so many candidates blow the interview after acing it because they do not know when to stop talking.
But I am going to talk about something a little different. When you see that the offer is coming, what do you do? Do you start preparing for the job you are about to get or do you keep looking for work as though nothing good was in the works.
Consider a recent experience I had.
I am a consultant….so I am always looking for work. When I go to the Social Media Club of Ft Worth, I want to hear the speaker but even more important, I want to make contacts. Days are for work. Nights are for making new contacts. Parties….contacts. Dinner with friends….contacts. Most of my gigs are short jobs.
But what about those really great jobs where a large company wants to hire you for the remainder of the year? That is like a full-time job and you can relax a bit. You really don’t have time to take on a bunch of new clients. You have one big client for a lengthy period of time. You can go home at night instead of attending networking meetings. You can go to parties or dinners and enjoy the friendship….it is not going to be a networking session all the time.
This is a good thing.
In this case, I would say I am like the typical job seeker who is looking for a full-time job. Listen to the rest of the story.
A recruiter found me on LinkedIn and reached out to me. After our phone call, he said he was going to pass my name along. I had proven to him that I was a good fit. Three interviews more….all with recruiters….I’d impressed them all adequately. They were going to set up a face-to-face with the hiring manager. Keep in mind that we are talking about a consulting job at a Fortune 50 company. These recruiters vetted me thoroughly. They were not going to run a bad candidate by this all important client.
I aced the interview with the hiring manager and the other assorted people they ran me by. Paperwork was sent to me to fill out. A background check was initiated. The recruiters were calling me twice a day to make sure I could start on Monday. Everything was rolling along. In less than a week, I was going to have a great paying consulting job for the remainder of the year.
At 3:30 PM on Wednesday, I got yet another call from one of the recruiters. His tone of voice told me everything with “Hi James.” An internal candidate had emerged and was being interviewed for the job. This was the end of the line.
During all this flurry of activity, however, I never stopped what I had been doing before the first phone call from the recruiter. As a matter of fact, when the 3:30 call came in on Wednesday, I was on my way to visit a prospective client. I was still hunting for new work as if I was not starting a long engagement on Monday with a large company.
As soon as I got off the phone, after swallowing the news, I was no worse off than I’d been two weeks earlier. I never let the potential good news cause me to slow down my job search. You see, I’ve been bumped by that last-minute internal candidate before. I know it can and does happen. I do not want to lose my momentum for something that might happen.
Now my question is this….when do you stop looking for that next job? In some respects, you never do. You always need to be doing some networking, some resume updating, some job board searching. We all know that. But when do you allow yourself to stop making “finding that next job” a full-time job? Not when you get the paperwork. Not when they start the background check. Not when they ask you if you can start on Monday.
Do you stop when your badge works on the front door? Do you stop when the first paycheck comes in and clears the bank? I do not have an answer. Maybe I have gotten a little paranoid. What I can say is, “Just because I’m paranoid does not mean they are not out to get me.”
Sorry…gotta go. I’m buying a prospective client coffee in 5 minutes.