• Neil

Reasons to Believe: How Hiring Actually Works

Updated: Jan 14

Let's build.| Image: James Padolsey

Hope, it is said, is not a plan.

My first 5-year goal was moving with a job to Europe. We got married in Seattle and spent our first 5 years near my family. This 9 hour time difference / 10 hour flight distance to my wife's parents, grandparents and sister was a major trade-off.

After 5 years building our careers in Seattle, we relocated to London the following Spring. Let me share two scenarios. Consider which one got us there on time:

1) I create an inspiring resume and new photo for LinkedIn. I read articles and sector reports about my industry in the UK. I apply for close-fit jobs online (numbers game!) and seek warm intros to recruiters.

2) I create projects with senior stakeholders in the UK. I study the data and create regular visibility to present justified insight. I craft a bold growth plan and socialize the business case for expansion.

Here's a more senior example:

I realized I would not be fulfilled unless I reinvented myself from global ecommerce to startup cloud computing. This took me on an 18-month path to a new role and lifelong learning opportunity.

1) I go for an MBA and take courses with overlap to IT. I find an internship where I have to put hands on keyboard. I take basic coding courses online and listen to every podcast I can find. I use family and alumni connections. With a referral in hand from my favorite professor, I land two offers to consider.

2) I attend the #1 event for my top choice employer in the industry, and pitch a hiring manager on the spot. I apply straight away, and learn from the feedback when I fail. I create a project in my 9-5 where I practice new skills with stakeholders I'll work with in the target role. Evenings and weekends become certification time. I find new mentors to share the language and tribal knowledge I need to signal in-group status. I baseline my skillset and seniorize my core skills with mentors and training outside my current department.

To get hired, it's not enough to be capable.
  • Credibility is currency to communicate readiness. We show and tell our accomplishments and unique perspective with confidence.

  • Capability is how we create evidence and results. I'll examine how to build capability methodically and on-schedule.

  • Visibility means broadcasting our credibility, needs and objectives to the right people at the decisive place and time.

Communicating CCV to hiring managers creates concrete, defensible reasons to believe. These candidates pass common interview formats involving multiple independent evaluators and rapid-fire debates in the debrief. I prefer to equip evaluators with specifics and prepare them go to bat for me.

Conclusion: Arriving in the Role

We might think 2 of 3 are sufficient. Have you experienced one of these?

  • Capable, -Credible or Visible

  • lack of new opportunities, low morale

  • underpromoted in role

  • occasional exciting opportunities tha