Subscription Options

November 30, 2008

Are they hiring you? Or are you giving them access to rare value?

What is a great job?

For most of us it’s a job where you are paid for your insight and sharply contrasting views. Where everyone recognizes your ability to add value to the initiative and actively seeks your participation.

This is what I continually search for; somewhere I will be well rewarded for the value of my experience, my wisdom and my ability to add meaning.

And how do we do that? Ummm… we send a resume, we post our CV on LinkedIn, we write fancy worded letters, and we apply to online ads.

What a waste of time...

The avenues themselves are okay. But it is how we use them that can make a life changing difference.

We focus on trying to convince people that we are the person they are looking for, that they want us in their teams. But what we should be focused on showing people they don’t want to hire us; they want to secure access to us.

This means two things:
  • The value you offer needs to be scarce. It needs to be hard to find, and not easily procured once they have found it. 
  • It needs to be worth searching for. It needs to have obvious value. Something that your prospective employer, or client for that matter, will get in line to have access to.
They need to be convinced that being in a room with you, to discuss issues related to your areas of expertise, will give them value that they could not easily achieve elsewhere.

Sounds hard right? Well, it is. But it is achievable.

Hard to Find

What ability, or combination of abilities, is unique in your area? Be open to possibilities here.

Maybe it’s being the manager or a senior consultant on The BIG contract, one that crosses borders, languages and cultures, and it went very well. Or it was a disaster and you survived with invaluable experience.

Or it’s because you received personal mentoring from one of the very few true recognized leaders in your field.

Maybe it’s the fact that you are a HR consultant with an economics degree, or experience with statistical mathematical models, or some other rare combination of skills.

Or maybe, it’s the fact that you are the person who they send in to do the really tough negotiations, or deal with the really hard clients. You might even be known as a person who can build long term commercial relationships with people who really matter.

Whatever it is, you need to get it and then make it known that you have it. It needs to be something not readily available, something rare, but also – something worth having.

Nobody is interested in the best MSDOS programmers anymore. You missed the boat on that one.

Worth Having

Whatever it is that you have mastered; the area or areas in which you have developed a rare understanding and ability, must be worth having.

That means that it will add significant value to them, and that you are pretty good at it.

They know this because when they searched Google they stumbled across your thought out articles. All pointing to the value you have achieved. They found your books showing new and different viewpoints of relevant subjects. Or they came across your Blog, and were able to see for themselves the depth of experience that you are able to articulate.

They read your LinkedIn profile, and saw the scores of recommendations from people who are recognized and respected as leaders in the field.

This is your track record, your personal record of achieving great value for your clients. The long list of authoritative people lining up to give you a reference, and the credible war stories you have to back it up. Stories drenched in hard won experience.

People with valuable talent are obvious.

They speak with confidence on their issues. They have the substance to make counterpoints to arguments without causing offense. And they are able to develop and convey unique and often new points of view related to their areas of expertise.

You could send in your CV to a job ad, and have them see a record of what you have done, or you can create the air of value, and have them realize what you could do for them.

By the time they speak with you they are well aware that you are a scarce and valuable resource, one that companies will line up to pay good money for.

This is no longer an interview; it’s an arrangement to work out the personal and financial details.

This is not the time to back away. Be confident, don’t be arrogant. Recognize when you are talking to somebody of substance and act accordingly. It’s okay to be deferential; it’s not okay to be a doormat. Don’t be afraid to depart from their script and give advice on something that you are talking about.

Feel free to differ on technical issues, or on points of how to proceed. When you are entering as a peer like this, you are not expected to be a nodding head.

But sometimes you will come up against a person who is threatened by you, or wants to try to prove a point somehow.

No problem, let is slide and move on. You should have options; you should have others in line to talk to.

They aren’t ready for you yet.