Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “golden handcuffs”?
It’s what people say when they mean they’re feeling trapped in a job they don’t enjoy, but they stay because it pays so well.
I see it a lot and I truly empathize with the brave folks who stick it out when they wish they could be somewhere else.
The interesting thing is, what may seem like “golden handcuffs” of good pay, may actually be only an illusion. Sometimes, after subtracting the hidden costs of having the job, the pay isn’t quite as high as it seems.
Today, I'm going to share with you an important job search principle.
It's something I call the "Apple Pie" paradox.
Yes, it's counter-intuitive -- but when you understand this basic principle, you'll be able to tap into a whole new world of job opportunities.
Here's how it works:
When my mom used to bake us an apple pie, I used to dream about eating the whole thing all by myself. But, unfortunately for me, I had to share it with my dad and my brothers. So mom used to cut it into slices.
If I was really unlucky and my uncle and aunt were staying with us, she'd have to cut it into even more slices -- and my slice would be smaller!
Consider this the "Golden Rule" for reaching out to hiring managers (whether by email, LinkedIn message, or some other media):
Never ask for a job.
And I don't just mean literally asking for a job. Don't even mention or "hint" that you're looking for a job, or ask him/her if they're hiring.
It's what I call a "high-commitment request".
When you email a hiring manager (effectively) asking for a job, there are really only three ways he or she can respond:
It's one of the most dreaded interview questions of all time:
"Why should I hire YOU?"
Here's the important thing every candidate needs to know about this question: There is no "magic" one-size-fits-all, fill answer. Not if you want to blow the interviewers away and ace the interview.
How should you answer this question?
Here's something not a lot of folks know about successful people:
Many of them are where they are today because somebody, somewhere gave them a leg up. There are very few "self-made" people in the world.
Now, I'm not saying your boss, or your successful businessman friend, or whoever, didn't work hard or that they haven't earned their success. I'm just saying: Behind most successful people, there are other people who helped them get where they are today, in some way or other.
Remember that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song?
"You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go.
I owe my soul to the company store"
Sing it, Tennessee!
Those lyrics were written in an era when punching the clock – day in and out at the same lackluster job until retirement – was the only rational option for a responsible adult. It’s an idea many still cling to as gospel truth.
Yet, does it still ring true today?
For many, yes, it surely does.
Let’s talk about retirement for a moment.
What does it mean to you?
Most folks believe retirement is a hard-earned reward for years of company loyalty and service. And when the day finally arrives, they’ll finally get to enjoy all those neglected hobbies, create lots of memories with loved ones, and take the trip of a lifetime (or two) with someone special.
However, retirement isn’t always that glamorous.
What seems like a dream come true, all-too-often ends in an unfortunate and avoidable way. It reminds me of that old saying:
"The light at the end of the tunnel is really an oncoming train."
We talk a lot about out-smarting interviewers and beating them at their own game -- but it's also worth remembering something important:
Most hiring managers do NOT like interviewing candidates.
Many of them completely hate the hiring process altogether.
Because it takes them away from their *real* work, and forces them to spend days, sometimes even weeks, interviewing different people.
Each time a new person walks through the door and takes a seat, they're desperately hoping that he or she will be the one.
Before I get down to "business" today, I want to tell you something:
I truly value the fact that you let me share my thoughts and ideas and advice with you through these blogs. It means a lot to me. Really, it does.
Often, when I start work in the morning, there are a few messages from folks who hit the reply button on one of these emails to share their thoughts with me and/or my team. I always enjoy these conversations.
It's my pleasure to help folks find their dream job. I guess you can say that I've already found my dream job -- it's helping you, and folks like you, in this vital career transition, and watching our members find success and grow.
Now -- where was I? Yes...
Hiring managers are like VIPs.
A member asks:
I would like to receive your advice if you do not mind.
I had an in-person interview a few weeks back, and the Hiring Manager gave me some immediate positive feedback as he escorted me through the door.
He literally said, "You did really good in your interview".
When I got home, I emailed a thank you note within 24 hours. However, since then I have not received any response from the Hiring Manager or Recruiter regarding the position.
I sent a follow-up note to the Hiring Manager one week later, and also emailed a follow-up note to the Recruiter two weeks after the interview.