The reason why I became an IT Career Consultant.
We recently had a new sales professional join one of my former employers an IT staffing firm. His experience was serving the Financial Services industry for the past 20 years. Fortune 500 banking organizations create a very competitive recruiting and staffing market. Hence, we viewed him as a battle-tested veteran.
In this case, he had brought in his first sales opportunity. A full-time Solution Architect position with one of his big clients. Being that he was new to our processes I help him close the sale and started recruiting for the role. I surfaced 4 great candidates which the client wanted to interview them all.
We scheduled the interviews for the following week. To ensure the Architects interview well I had to conduct a preparation call. Otherwise, I would not allow them to interview with our clients. Before one of the scheduled interviews, I conducted my prep call as usual, but I had the door to my office open.
After I finished the call, the new sales professional came into my office. He was staring at me with a stern look on his face. Then cracked a big smile. He said, “You know I have been in this business for a long time. I have to say that was the best interview prep I have ever heard.” Humbled I thanked him and shared that I had been working on perfecting the interview prep for over 12 years.
Our education systems fail to provide critical career and interviewing skills to students. They help students determine the vocation they should most likely go into. However, they do not teach them how to define a rewarding career path and the steps to take. Also, very few if any offer true interview courses on what to do and say before, during and after interviews. Students have the knowledge required to perform jobs but not how to get those jobs. Often, they must rely upon parents, school counselors, and friends to give them advice.
Another interesting fact is how many professionals overstate their interview abilities. Most likely because they have not heard how an excellent interviewer conducts themselves. Trust me it’s a night and day difference how the best conduct themselves when they interview. Anyone who has had to fill a role can agree and they can recall the best interviews they have conducted.
It’s like a Maestro conducting a classical symphony. You almost want to stand up and give them an ovation afterward. From beginning to end it is a different experience altogether. Planned examples, orchestrated stories, and salesmanship. Which puts their experience in the best light possible.
Identifying the need for a solution I went to work creating a strategic framework to teach others how to navigate the complexities of a career. The three areas of focus as an IT Career Consultant include career planning, professional branding, and interview skills. It is the combination of all three that I have found leads to the best results.
First, knowing where you’re going allows you to chart the logical steps in your career. Like a business plan, starting with a career plan will help you when you have tough decisions to make. Whether it is which role to take next, when to ask for a promotion, or more compensation.
Professional branding is critical in today’s job market. The ability to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition is imperative. With proper professional branding, you gain an unfair advantage in advancing both your career and income. Clients get more interview requests, referrals, opportunities, build stronger networks and better compensation.
Like any skill, with the proper education interviewing skills will improve. I designed a variety of sessions to teach what to do and say before, during, and after interviews to get offers. Then how to negotiate fearlessly to get the best package possible. With this knowledge, clients have felt more confidence when going into every interview.
Other Feedback & Results:
Taking part in over 10,000 interviews, it was early on in my career that I started documenting what worked well and what didn’t. I began recognizing the patterns that the most effective interviewers used to get results. The analogy that comes to mind is like a football coach in the press box, I was able to see the entire field. Hearing the back and forth between the hiring authority and the candidate led to many discoveries. So, I started creating a framework on how to best interview which led to my interview prep. Above all my goal was to help my candidates put their best foot forward. “To help them get the ball into the endzone to score.”
As a result, I led every organization in almost all the most important recruiting KPI’s. For example, in my previous organization, I had a 38.6% submission-to-hire ratio. The difference was that I prepared all my candidates while other recruiters did not. I shared with my candidates all the tricks, tips, and trends that I had learned over the years. Giving them an unfair advantage over their competition.
Often, I would finish the prep with the candidate saying, “I can’t believe they don’t teach this in college.” Or “I have spent 15 years of my career interviewing wondering why I struggled so much and now I know why.” Having heard that feedback so many times I had found a new mission or purpose. To serve as many professionals as possible by helping them interview with excellence. (MaryBeth’s video on can’t believe)
Why focus on IT?:
When considering becoming a full-time coach, I wanted to be able to add as much value as I could to my clients. As a generalist, I would work with a variety of areas of business. Someone could be in marketing, operations, call center, or accounting. I would be spreading myself too thin by having to learn the nuances of different segments and roles. Early in my recruiting career, I worked for a generalist firm that didn’t provide great value to our clients. We could be working on a Plant Manager role in manufacturing then working a CFO role the next day.
With the last 10+ years of my search career being niche-focused on filling IT roles, it was only natural to become an IT Career Consultant. Doing so would benefit those a serve that much more. It was only natural to focus on serving the niche I had the most experience and success within. As an IT Career Consultant, I get to leverage my previous success and experience. Having knowledge about the specific challenges and requirements for each role. Often the challenges are similar from position to position.
Also, I discovered early on that IT professionals struggled the most with “selling”. Whether it was writing a great resume or using soft skills during interviews to get jobs. The same challenge came up time and time again. As I tell all my clients, “Believe it or not when making a move you’re in sales. You’re selling your background, skills, and ability to the position and organization.” Having spent most of my free time learning sales and interviewing techniques as well as psychological aspects it was a natural fit. I could add the most value because of my ability to distill down my experience and what I had learned.
In summary, it made logical sense to become an IT Career Consultant. It combines my knowledge, experience, and passion to help others self-actualize. I truly get geeked up every time I help someone have that aha moment, overcome challenges, and become a better version of themselves. Beyond earning a living, it allows me to have a greater impact on the lives of those I work with versus recruiting.
If you or someone you know is in IT that might benefit from an IT Career Consultant, there are a couple of ways I can help. I offer both one-off sessions to focus on a particular area or full-blown packages to provide a long-term comprehensive solution. You can learn more about the Sessions here and Packages here. If you’re still unsure schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation call to see if we’re a match.
**Also, if someone you refer please make sure they mention your name because if the get a package you can choose either get a complimentary session or a donation to charity or scholarship of your choice. It is my desire that my business helps build stronger professionals and communities at the same time.