Is It Really Easier To Find a Job If You Have One? |

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EP 1325 A great question and a belief that everyone takes for granted . . . but is it true?

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it really easier to find a new job when you have a job?

Great question!  It really challenges the beliefs of the job-search system, both from an employer perspective and from a job perspective.  So let me pause and answer the question.

The answer to me is, "No."  I know that will be a surprise for many of you because it is 1 of the great assumptions of job hunting.  Let me dissect it.

If you don't have the skills to do a job, whether you are working or not, you are not going to be hired.  If you have the skills and aren't working, you can find a job in the same is obviously true. If you are working. 

The real issue is around the negotiation phase.  In certain markets and in certain times, the issue may be, "Why were you fired and not the person 2 desks over from you?"  Employers start to think, "Maybe this individual was not the most productive person" versus the least political individual.  Or, the one with the least seniority.  Seniority is always the easiest way to cop to an explanation as to why you are the one chosen during particular down markets.

Employers Like a Bargain!
In average-to-good markets, the issue will come down to the negotiation phase.  Employers think they can get a "bargain" if you are out of work.  That's because they think you are "desperate."  That's their thinking.  You are desperate.  You need a job.  You want a job.  You'll take almost anything to get back to work.  The longer you are out of work, the more likely it is you are to behave that way, right?  After all, you've been out of work for 6 months. You been collecting unemployment insurance or whatever the social program is in the country you reside in.  They think they can get you inexpensively, which, in some respects, makes you more attractive. But, in other ways, it's harder on you because you have to compromise more. Your ego is at stake. 

It's hard for you to say to someone, "We want you to start this new position and we think you're terrific.  We think you're wonderful and we are going to pay you less than your previously earning."

On the subconscious level for the individual, they are shocked and find it difficult to say, "Yes."  Being out of work is a layer of complexity to the search.  You have less wiggle room on the negotiation side because firms will often make job offer, suggesting to you, "Without you making a job offer and give you 2 choices.  Leave it or take it. Your choice.  We don't really care which one you make. Because there are another 15 people at our door who want this job if you want it."

That's the real issue with being out of work.  Your bargaining becomes limited.  Where you can negotiate if the numbers are off.

In other climates, it is how you are perceived as someone who has chosen to be out of work.  Why that was and they are concerned about you, as a result.

1 of the little trick questions they'll ask him to those conditions is, "Where have you had interview so far?  Where else are you pending?"

If you say nowhere, their reaction is to say, "Okay, we can make him a low-ball offer because she doesn't have any choices." 

I remember, when I 1st saw it as a recruiter, I interviewed this 1 person in my 2nd week in the job and that was trained to ask the question, "Where have you been on interviews before?"  The guy read off a list of 20 places that he's been to the have all turned them down and there was a message in that, too.

Just recognize that the impact of being laid off, the impact of being out of work can adversely affect you very easily.  If you are working, it takes away a whole layer to the situation that puts you on a more even playing field. When you are negotiating.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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