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Candidate's Newsletter: Fine-tuning your approach to the job hunt

Welcome to February. While lately every day might feel like Groundhog Day, this is the month we actually find out whether spring will be here soon. It’s also the month of Valentine’s Day — or Galentine’s Day, if you prefer to celebrate that alt-holiday. And it’s the month of the Snow Moon.


In this month’s newsletter, how to deal with the sting of being ignored after a job interview, why it’s important to respond to a recruiter even if you’re not interested, and how to answer that dreaded interview question.



The Sting of Being Ignored


You interviewed for a job. Then you interviewed again. And again. Then…


c r i c k e t s .....


What happened? There’s no excuse for being left in doubt like this, regardless of how busy a hiring manager might be.


Perhaps they left you hanging while they tried to find someone more qualified. Or maybe their hiring process is just not very good. Either way, no excuse.


This, by the way, will not happen when you work with a recruiter like myself and those of us at Johnson Recruiting Group. With a recruiter on your team, you’ll always get a reply, one way or the other.



Why Respond to a Cold Reach-Out from a Recruiter?


In the flow of your busy day, you get a LinkedIn notification that someone has InMail messaged you. It’s a message from a recruiter you do not know.


“Yeah right,” you think. “I’ll get to that after I clear my inbox, catch up on Slack, and sit through all these Zooms.” You never get to it.


If you’re not even looking to change jobs, ignoring a cold message from a random recruiter might seem like the obvious approach. But hear me out, because, as a recruiter for the last 12+ years myself, I have another point of view.


A message from a recruiter is an invitation to start up a relationship. You may not need to talk to a recruiter now — and, in fact, you may be annoyed about the intrusion. But at some point, you might find yourself really wishing you had a recruiter in your back pocket. At the very least, a cordial response can set in motion the wheels of networking — never a bad idea.


Pop Quiz: What’s Your Biggest Weakness?


What’s your biggest weakness?


“James, my biggest weakness is that I never know how to answer this danged question in an interview.”


Okay, fair enough.


Assuming you’re trying to get better at composing a response to this dreaded interview question, I have a word of advice: No matter what your weakness is, make sure you close by talking about how you handle it on the job.


  • Do you have trouble saying no? Then explain how you’ve learned to do it.

  • Are you under-confident about a particular skill? Express humility in learning from a mentor.

  • Do you work TOO hard? Even this can seem like a liability to an interviewer afraid you might get burnt out. So follow it up by talking about the measures you take to keep the ol’ work-life balance alive.


This Month’s Must-Reads



That’s it for this month’s newsletter. Stay warm, stay healthy, and stay inspired!


James Johnson


Johnson Recruiting Group



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