This is a message from a frustrated CEO to all those who are seriously looking for a job.
During the last 20 years as managing director, I went through a lot of applications. We had any open position: sales guys, developers, support, marketing, students – you name it. And during every application process, I see the same plot. It is frustrating. It costs my time and your time. Life time.
So, here is my wish list. And – believe me – it is the wish list of EVERY serious company seeking for new staff. By fulfilling the following points, you will be automatically under the upper 10 % of all applicants – at least at Herberg Systems.
1. Why you? Why us?
Tell us why we should talk to each other. Why are you applying for the job? What makes you think that this job could be interesting for you at all? And why us? You might be surprised – most people keep that as their well hidden secret.
Finding out these points costs time and investigation work. You have to go through web sites and social media. But if you don’t care about where you want to work in future, if you are not even willing to invest your time into your own future – why should I believe that you will be more interested in your daily working results after signing the working contract?
Please read the job description carefully and explain why you fit to the position. Again, 80-90% don’t do that. If you can’t explain why I should hire you as a mathematician for a sales manager position, how could I do?
So please, make up your mind. Working time is life time – don’t waste it.
What is your working history? We expect a complete CV, including all unemployment phases – doesn’t matter if due to job search, sickness, parental leave or world traveling periods. By the way: Unemployment is never a shame. There are many reasons why life kicks us of the road. Explain the gaps, don’t try to hide them. Believe me – they show up first. We can do math.
Completeness also means at least the last three employment reference (if you have worked already that much). By the way – according to German law, you have the legal right to get a reference from your employer promptly after leave. There is no excuse (for workers in Germany). Go and get it. Otherwise, be prepared that we call your previous employer.
3. Communication and reliability
“O, we had an arrangement for an interview? Sorry, well, I forgot …” Nothing is more frustrating than ending up with an applicant who is not reliable, not able to comply with simple agreements or not showing up. We just expect that people can meet deadlines or communicate early enough if they can’t make it. Would you like to team up with someone you can’t rely on? No? So why should we?
Communication also means the ability of reading and writing. Sounds silly? In 90% of all application letters I find at least one typo. Yes – German grammar is challenging. But our jobs are as well. How should I expect you to work carefully if you can’t even write the one page letter that can change your life?
Make sure that your application letter is correct in grammar and contents – in doubt ask your friends, teachers or family for help. And ensure that you have one which really is about the job you are applying for. Copy and paste never works – it will directly blow you from the stack – sorry.
4. Be prepared to ask questions
Ok – you made it through the first completeness check (20% left). You went through our telephone interview (10% left). Now, you are sitting in front of me and your potential future colleague. We ask you a lot to check if you are the right person to join the team. We are done. Any questions?
And then – silence. No question from you. No idea, no doubt, no open issue. No interest, no input, no remark. Obviously no real interest?
Please – if you have a job presentation meeting, prepare yourself. Write up all the questions you have about the company, the job, the products, the working environment and your tasks and bring them to the meeting. Most people love to answer questions. So do we if someone is really interested.
And here the premium hint: Take your time and write down your own expectations of the future job. What is important for you? What is nice? What is a must?
I hope you got my frustration. There are so many people out there seeking for good jobs. And so many do the same errors again and again, frustrated and hopeless. Don’t waste your and our (life) time. Do it right. All the best! Thanks!