Ask the Headhunter: Fearless

Fearless Job HuntingI’ve spoken about and Nick Corcodilos only once or twice before.  We have been pen pals since the dotcom bust put zillions of us on the street and I found his website (pre blog days), then read the weekly newsletter.  Nick’s original approach to tackling the job search as a business proposition was refreshing and encouraging, especially since it comes from a working headhunter (not to be confused with a recruiter).  Nearly every one of his tactics came into play on my last serious job hunt.

That’s the job for which I celebrated my 10th anniversary on June 7.

Nick recently compiled the best of hundreds of his newsletters and assembled them in a 9-volume collection titled Fearless Job Hunting. You can buy and download individual volumes for $8.95 or the whole set for $49.95.  I say get them all, particularly Volume 4.

I wrote some drivel to him about intrusive information requests years ago and he somehow made it presentable enough to use in the book on overcoming HR roadblocks (odd, that seems to be Volume 4, what a coincidence).  These are straight-up “how do I make X happen?” questions, followed by “do this” answers.  Discussion on the philosophy follows and comes with some dissenting voices; realistic opinions and no strawmen to attack.  Nick shared with me some concern about these parts, wondering whether the internal arguments add any value to the content.  Personally, I think they do.  I believe it is helpful to understand the machinery you are working within when on the job hunt.  The dissenting voices are from Human Resources professionals and if you don’t recognize them as real personae, you haven’t been in the workforce that long.  If you’re a seasoned professional, the content reminds you of the rules you are about to break (for good reason) and if you’re new to the workforce, it will educate you.  Everybody wins.

His blog and discussion forum are similar treasure troves and as a long time subscriber of the newsletter, I will tell you the weekly Q&A he publishes is always engaging.  I’ve trash-canned less than a half dozen of the 400 or so I’ve received.  The only other mailing list I’m on is for Bruce Schneier’s “Schneier on Security.”  I’m picky.  It’s tough to keep my attention that long and Nick has some important guidance for the professional (or want-to-be professional) looking to add value in a meaningful way with an appreciative employer.  That is worth my time.

You might wonder why a guy who’s been with the same employer for 10 years is shilling for a headhunter’s instruction manual, other than the obvious plug for my own anecdotes in print.  I have 2.  First, I’m a hiring manager.  If more people followed Nick’s advice in the job search I would waste less time trying to identify the right candidate and more time making money for my employer.  Stop trying to answer my questions with a canned answer and don’t look at me like I’m growing horns when I point you to the whiteboard to “Do the Job.”  Just do it.  Second, I’m a consultant.  Every new engagement I help sell or deliver is a job interview.  I am the senior guy our senior sales people call in to demonstrate our capabilities to a client and they don’t listen unless I have something useful to say.  Nick’s advice was as relevant on day 3,650 as it was on day zero.

Nick has been known to say “the employment system in America is broken.”  I couldn’t agree more.  His new volumes might not fix it entirely; that’s up to you to fix by taking practical advice from people who know what they’re talking about.  Start treating the job search with the respect it deserves, as a business proposition.  These volumes will get you started down the right path.

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