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by David Perry | March 10, 2009


Let's face it. You know you're good at what you do but so are many otherunemployed people these days. The bar for new recruits has been raised veryhigh. Today, many employers prefer to make no decision rather than possibly makea wrong one. As an executive recruiter and placement counselor, I know howemployers make hiring decisions. To stand out from the competition, you mustsubtly demonstrate the unwritten requirements that are now most in demand:leadership and communication skills, a bias towards action and passion.

Leadership Skills

Employers today don't need any more "team players." The past 10years in the technology industry have shown that team players often are afraidto voice their opinions. Nobody needs another hanger-on. Every technologycompany right now is battling the clock trying to increase market share in themidst of a cash crunch and a dwindling capital market.

Employers want leaders at every level of the organization who are capable ofgalvanizing the talented people they still have around ambitious goals andmotivating them to succeed. You must convince an employer that you'll have adecisive influence on its ability to win and that you're an integral part of thesolution. If you can't communicate your personal commitment and drive throughyour words and actions in the interview, you won't be its first choice.

Communication Skills

Crisp, clear and concise communication is in. Abstruse pontification is out.Save the high-level theorizing for the pub. Your demonstrated ability to directand motivate staff is the key to interviewing success. Employers hire articulatecandidates before all others. No one has the time to interpret what he or shethinks you said. Fuzzy thoughts and clumsy speaking skills aren't indicative ofclear thinking. Be prepared to get into details with your interviewer. Beprepared to relate your accomplishments to the company's needs. Be prepared tosay why it should hire you.

Bias Toward Action

You must demonstrate your ability to take action with limited or imperfectinformation. Wall Street brutally punishes companies that don't move quickly tomake changes regardless of whether they had the correct information to make adecision. Learn how to consult your "gut feeling" when nothing else isavailable. Employees at all levels can't be afraid to make tough decisions.

Product life cycles are now measured in months, not years. The time fordebate is short. Lately, investors worldwide have punished acts of indecisionwith dramatic sell offs. You need to be viewed as decisive because anyoneelse is viewed as a liability. You need to demonstrate these traits as much bywhat you do before the interview as by how you conduct yourself during theinterview. The easiest way to research an industry is to use Hoover'sOnline. The site has a tool called "industry snap shots" where youcan quickly get the lowdown on who's who.


Most people coast through life preferring to be safe rather than sorry intheir career. However, I've had the great fortune to work with brillianttechnical people who also were passionate about what they did and wanted toleave their mark on the world. These are people who have a fire in their belly,a zest for life and a sense of urgency that infects everyone around them. Theychallenge you to stretch and open your mind to new possibilities and to envisionwhat's possible, not what is. For most employers, it really doesn't matter ifall of your ideas are bright or even right -- just that you have some and thatyou participate. Passionate debates lead to breakthroughs that create newindustries and new wealth for all.

Because the job market is in turmoil and calls from recruiters are far lessfrequent, you'll need to take charge of your search. Be prepared to showemployers that you possess these talents and skills. Additionally, you'll haveto become adept at self-promotion. Remember, there are no restrictions on whatyou can do next -- only those you impose on yourself.


Filed Under: Job Search

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