Job Search

I’m doing everything right. Why am I not getting an offer?

I’m asked this a lot.

→ I’ve done my research
→ I asked great, employer-centric, questions
→ I nailed “What are your strengths?”, connecting it to the job
→ I was confident, not cocky
→ I had answers ready for their questions
→ I provided accomplishments relevant to their need
→ I mapped my stories to their job description
→ I don’t have off-putting behaviors based on mock interview feedback
→ I listened at least as much as I talked
→ I didn’t ramble or spend 5 minutes telling one story
→ My body language checks out based on video mock interviews
→ I was on time
→ I’m not showing lack of passion

Note: Unconscious bias is real, but out of scope here.

1 in 3 of 2,000 surveyed hiring managers say they know within 90 seconds if they’ll hire you, according to Jobvite.

Why? They’re subconsciously assessing 3 things:
1. Do I respect you?
2. Do I trust you?
3. Do I like you?

Reflect on the first 90 seconds of your interviews. Did you make a strong connection?

Your #1 job is to build rapport.

Smile and make eye contact.
Share common ground from their LI profile or something in their office.
Mirror their pace: If they’re calm and you talk fast, maybe that’s an issue.

People hire people they like.


Changing Jobs? Avoid Buyer’s Remorse!

Changing jobs? Don’t jump from the pan to the fire!

How to pinpoint what you love and hate to avoid the same (or worse) situation.

1. LIST top DISLIKES of your job in 3 areas:
✔ Job responsibilities
✔ Manager’s shortcomings
✔ Company culture

2. LIST what you LIKE across same 3 areas, above.

Prioritize each list by most important.

✔ Create interview questions based on top priorities
✔ Research the company based on your lists (e.g. read, reviews)
✔ Have conversations with people about the company (leverage your network)
✔ Contact HR at the company with questions about the role or company

Top DISLIKES in current job:
A. Manager micromanages me
B. Project team misses deadlines; I’m held responsible, others aren’t

C. Collaboration among peers on team
D. Allowed to work from home

Sample questions to ask:
A. Can you describe your delegation/management style on a recent project?
B. How would you describe the company culture toward accountability?
C. Can you share how the team works together and give an example?
D. How is the team distributed? Is everyone in the office?

Tip: Use Google!
e.g. “Interview questions about ________”

Avoid buyer’s remorse through reflection and preparation!​

Networking Tip: Help People Help You!

​Job seeker: Your networking outreach stinks! Okay, maybe not YOU, but most others.
No-no: “I’m looking for a new opportunity so please let me know if you hear of anything.”
Do some work up front to help people help you.

📌Identify the kind of role you’re seeking.

Next, list out:
📌Your related experience and what you do best.
📌The value an employer will receive.

Finally, create your three-part networking conversation starter:
“I’m currently seeking a customer service team lead role. I have three years of operations experience improving processes and solving problems, which helps my employer provide better, consistent experiences to customers, increasing recent customer satisfaction scores by 12% .”

Short and sweet is key!

If you don’t know what you want, or what you do best, you are in the career discovery phase, not the job search phase. Take a step back to get clear.

LinkedIn Tip: Check Out Your Searchers!

​Job seekers: Here’s a gem LinkedIn feature you might not know about.

1. View your profile
2. Scroll down to “Your Dashboard”
3. Click “Search Appearances” box


You’ll see 3 data points for search results you showed up in over the past week:
1. Where your searchers work
2. What your searchers do (title)
3. What keywords your searchers used
Act on this valuable information!
FIRST, are there recruiters in the list?
If so, chances are they have jobs to fill at their company. Check out the company page for each to see if there are openings that match your skills.
SECOND, view keywords you’re being found on. Are they spot on, or off base? Edit your profile SUMMARY and add (or update) a skills section at the bottom with the skills you want to attract, like this:

Areas of Experience:
Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Career Discovery, Career Transition, Interview Preparation, StrengthsFinder & DiSC Workshops, Keynotes
THIRD, if you find postings you’re qualified for, click “See employees on LinkedIn” from the LI company page and see if you’re either connected to someone there, or if you have a 2nd connection who might introduce you to help you network into the company.


The Job Search Step You’re Missing

Most job seekers begin their search with updating their resume (CV, for international readers). If that’s your approach, I hope to convince you to take a step back, because it can make all the difference.

From the time I started working at “the golden arches” at age 16, I’ve held exactly 13 positions. In 27 years, every interview I’ve had resulted in an offer, yet it’s notbecause I was the most qualified candidate. I wasn’t. Not once, in fact. I’ve had two hiring managers tell me I wasn’t technically qualified, but they wanted to hire me anyway. Why?

I know myself. My mother is an Executive Coach, and she’s had me take every assessment known to man. I know what I can’t do (and what I can), and I only compete for jobs where I know I’ll succeed.
I can articulate my strengths. Because I know myself, I ‘m able to easily demonstrate to an employer how and why I will do a job with excellence.
Peter Drucker was a leadership genius way ahead of his time and was a pioneer in the conversation on strengths. Really it was more of a monologue, because the conversation had not yet begun in the corporate world.

Here are two of my favorite Drucker quotes:

“Most [people] do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer.”

“It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.”

If you don’t know your strengths (your actual strengths, not trendy buzz words sprinkled throughout your resume) you are taking a shot in the dark. Your cover letters, resume, networking conversations, interviews, and over-all branding, will be substandard to what could have been.


In my experience, the most insightful strengths assessment is the Clifton StrengthsFinder, created by the Gallup organization. It’s an assessment based on a 40-year study, and is a catalog of the 34 most common talents in people.

Why do strengths matter?

According to Gallup, 1 in 33 million people share the same top five strengths. This means your job performance will have a unique approach. You won’t accomplish the job the same way as another candidate.

It’s your job to explain that your approach is better. Simple awareness of your approach is compelling and powerful.

Also, working within one’s natural talents impacts productivity, stress, and quality. If you know your strengths, you can target roles that will use them. Your stress will decrease, and your productivity and quality will rise. Awareness of your natural talents equips you to be intentional in using them every day. When you play to your strengths, your work is energizing.

Where do your strengths lie?

In addition to knowing what your strengths are, you can learn where your strengths lie. There are four thematic buckets for the 34 strengths:

Relating Themes – These themes explain how you build connections with other people

Impacting Themes – These themes explain how you motivate others to action

Striving Themes– These themes explain what pushes you toward results

Thinking Themes – These themes explain how you analyze the world

Knowing where your strengths lie not only reveals your advantages – which you should leverage and develop – it also highlights blind spots, which enables you to target strengths you can use to compensate. I do this all the time. Most of my strengths are Thinking Themes (Strategic, Learner, Intellection, and Input).

I can’t impact people or build relationships if I live in my own head, which is the tendency of Thinking bucket dwellers. To avoid this, I rely heavily on my Impacting Theme: Maximizer.

StrengthsFinder advises people with Maximizer: “Seek roles in which you are helping other people succeed. In coaching, managing, mentoring, or teaching roles, your focus on strengths will prove particularly beneficial to others.”Hmm…That’s interesting. My desire to help people succeed draws me out!

I have a client who told me she was in a job interview last week and was asked what words she would use to describe herself. How convenient! I had created a one-page summary of her assets based on the assessments she’s done. She pulled it out and summarized her results for them, something like this:

I’m committed, accountable, independent, trusted, and conscientious.(Responsibility)

I’m a problem solver, troubleshooter, and I find improvements and solutions.(Restorative)

I’m always learning and I catch on quickly. (Learner)

I grow talent in others, and enjoy helping others succeed. (Developer)

I’m a negotiator who sees both sides of a situation, enabling me to arrive at consensus. (Harmony)

You can bet the employer was impressed!

I know my top five strengths. Now what?

First, become intimately acquainted with your strengths.

The true value of your strengths is the interpretation. Too many people take the assessment, read their strengths, and place the report in a drawer. This is a missed opportunity. Transformation comes through the powerful narrative of knowing who you are and how you operate.

I have a client that has Communication as her top strength, and her next two strengths are Discipline and WOO (Winning Others Over). I explained to her that when WOO and Communication are working together, she’s the life of the party — she’s networking, making friends, building connections.

However, when Discipline and Communication are locking arms, she is communicating policy, standards, and ensuring people are following guidelines. One of those presentations of her personality is very task-oriented (Communication + Discipline), while the other is relationship-oriented (Communication + WOO).

Understanding how she’s perceived has enhanced her emotional intelligence and increased awareness of her effect on co-workers, who may be confused by shifts between the two personas. This is the kind of insight that can have great impact in your life.

Second, ask yourself some questions:

How do your strengths impact your current, or a desired, role?
What are some ways your strengths are unique in how you approach your work?
Are you able to identify potential gaps between critical strengths a role requires, and your strengths?
How might you leverage your other strengths to meet those gaps?
Finally, take action:

If employed, explain your strengths to your manager so they can find better ways to leverage you.
Be mindful of strengths when setting goals (you’ll perform better).
Look for special projects that need your strengths (it’s a chance to shine).
Keep strengths in mind when identifying your next career step.
Embed strengths in your networking pitch, interview answers, cover letters, and resume.
Practice discussing your strengths. It’s a language — the more you practice, the more fluent you’ll become.

All the best to you!