Monday, March 11, 2002

Follow-up critical in job search

Daily Grind

By John Eckberg,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Opening the e-mailbag: A column about interviewing protocol brought an insightful e-mail from a Union businessman. The column on Feb. 25 looked at how to best hunt for a job when you already have a job:

       Dear John,

        As an executive, I have done a lot of recruiting and also have searched for new positions for my own career on several occasions.

        I have recruited people for VP positions, technical-professional positions, and secretaries.

        I thoroughly agree with one of the tips, that is, don't leave a message for an interview target to call you back. I was always amazed how many people submitted letters and resumes and never called to follow-up.

        With all the resumes a recruiter receives, a searcher must also call to avoid ending up in the file cabinet.

        Since so few call, it gives the searcher who calls and makes contact a "leg up" on the masses. I disagree with one point regarding the “thank you” letter. As a recruiter, I didn't need a thank you note per se.

        But what did impress me was a one-page summary of specific challenges of the position and then what the candidate could do to fulfill those needs.

        This demonstrated that the candidate was listening during the interview and knew what he/she had to offer to meet those challenges.

        If the summary was good, there was another leg up! This also worked for my career when I was on the career/position changing side. Persistence and personal contact/follow-up works!

        About five years ago I was trying to get an open executive position for a Columbus based company. I knew I was the right person for that position but the recruiter (chairman of the board) was very conservative and slow to decide.


An offer too late

               Each time I made contact he would find reasons why perhaps I was not perfect or not to make a decision. After about three months of follow -up (but not in a pesky way), I accepted a position elsewhere.

        Just before I was to join my new company, the Columbus chairman surprised me when he called me to meet the owners and to make an offer.

        I met with them as I was driving to my new company in Maryland but indicated I did not want an offer since I had already made a commitment.

        This Columbus company represented the most difficult time I ever had getting a decision and an offer. To get an offer had become for me like a quest in Man of La Mancha.

        It finally worked but too late for both of us. Perhaps the lesson here should be, doing a job search has to be more like a job quest, which represents a stronger commitment to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

        Jack Espelage - Union


Stocking up on workers?

               Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, authors of Herman Trend Alerts, predict that companies will soon begin to stock up on workers, just in case broad economic growth leads existing employees to seek new positions.

        “Employers will build reserve capacity into their staffing,” says the pair of employment consultants, who are based in Greensboro, N.C.

        “A variety of approaches will be taken. Many companies will develop contingency plans to delay projects or farm work out to other companies. Others will maintain an on-call list.”

        Contact John Eckberg at 768-8386 or


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