By Steve Reimer, VP

I don’t ordinarily pay a lot of attention to political ads, but there’s been a lot of drama of late about Conservative ads targeting Justin Trudeau. Whichever side of the partisan spectrum you find yourself on, there’s no question that the ‘Just Not Ready’ ads are getting plenty of play, both as ads and as a subject of media scrutiny. In the ads, a group of professionals reflect on resumes for the top job in Canada – and deem that this candidate’s fine haircut is the best thing about him. “I’m not saying no forever, but not now,” comes the last line.

Unfortunately, that’s an all-too-common response to candidates who are qualified for the job. They just don’t know how to present themselves in a way that’s going to make it an unbeatable proposition for the hiring company to say ‘yes’. Sometimes, that’s because the executive has been in their company so long, getting bumped up through the ranks, that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to have to be a candidate.

As executive recruiters, we see the same kinds of bad habits getting in the way of success. Here’s how to increase your odds:

Refine Your Resume. We’re experts at helping you put your best foot forward. However, the person with the most inside-knowledge about your relevant experience and education is you. We may need to adapt your CV based on the employment opportunity, so be open with us about what you’ve done – and what you can do.

Lock Down Your References. If you’re switching over from a longtime employer who is already suspicious about top performers getting poached by other firms, this may be tricky. On the other hand, it’s standard practice to get at least two business references and one or two character references – and fulfilling these requests can take time. The last thing you want is your prospective employer calling up references without any notice, potentially leaving them on the spot without knowing what you want to highlight. Don’t leave this until the last minute.

Show Enthusiasm for the Company at the Interview. If you make it clear that you’re just there to ‘check your options’ and ‘see what’s out there’, because you’ve got your present job to fall back on, the interviewers will be equally non-committal towards you. They want to know that you’re actually interested in working for them – and why, not just looking for a bump in pay and benefits.

Do Your Research. When we’re matching companies with candidates, we look for opportunities where the job seeker can add value to a company, beyond the immediate role they’re applying for. That said, in the interview, it’s up to the candidate to identify how this is going to work. That means understanding the company’s mission, structure and corporate culture – so you can communicate how you’re going to hit the ground running. We can help identify opportunities, but there is that old saying about leading a horse to water…

Understand Your Game Plan. We often have ongoing relationships with candidates over a long span of a career. It’s important for you to know where you want to be not just in your next job, but two or 3 years from now, 5 years, or even a decade down the road. Where do you see yourself – and what do you need to do to get there? We can help you with that planning as well.

Want to avoid the “not never, but not now” rejection and put your career on a better path? Contact us today.