Let’s look at the players. You have a hiring manager, and he has… yes, do give us the drum roll, please… a job to offer. What does this mean? Have you ever watched the movie “Dave,” starring Kevin Kline?
SPOILER WARNING: It’s a standard type of Hollywood story, where one actor gets to play two parts. The U.S. President just so happens (like Saddam Hussein used to do, so famously) to require a double. Dave, the replacement President is an Executive Recruiter. At first he’s completely overwhelmed and has no idea what to do. Then, he decides to approach the job of the Presidency just the same way he runs his recruiting business and all is well in the end, of course. The point he makes so powerfully though, that really stuck with me, is the question he asks, “Do you know what it looks like in a man’s face when you tell him he’s got a job?”
How were we educated? We were educated to do well in school and then get a great job, the best paying job we can. A job is our security. It is our way of surviving the economic jungle. For many people, a job really is everything.
Your hiring manager, he’s got one of these to dole out. He’s got the most precious economic treasure in the world to grant, at his or her discretion. Now that’s power, isn’t it?
And what do the candidates do? They line up in droves in hopes of winning the job offer. That these droves are now more and more electronic matters not one whit. Whoever offers a paying job will have people that want that job. Sure, there are jobs that are hard to fill, but that is just a special case. The reality is that, in general, and with the force of gravity, if you offer to pay people, they’ll come to you hoping it will be them that you select.
Now, what do all these candidates bring to the table? Surely their personality, and you can believe me when I tell you that matters, not that you need me to tell you since you already know. Then, there are their qualifications, such as the job requires, no, such as the hiring manager requires in order to grant the job…let’s keep this targeted at the players and not go “corporate!” (Job’s don’t require anything, the people who do the hiring do!)
We can sum all of that down to the one word, “work.” Sure, the more common term nowadays is “talent.” That is, as in the vaunted “War for Talent.” But, a prospective employee doesn’t think of him or herself as “talent” or as bringing their talent to work. They just think about the work they’ll be doing, in return for getting paid. Let’s stick with the word “work.”
What is work? Work is what you trade for money. That’s the ultimate definition, but let’s also break it down into two parts: Effort and Time. The candidate is putting forward his working effort and time as his…
As his what? The candidate comes to the job interview in hopes of…
Winning the bid for the job!
The job will pay him money. He will exchange his effort and time for that money. He hopes that his effort and time will be more appealing to the hiring manager than anyone else’s, and the candidate is very, very aware that his bid of effort and time is absolutely being compared to others’ bids of their own effort and time. The candidate is utterly aware that the hiring manager is considering other people’s bids, so in the candidate’s presentation, he works with all he is to make the case that his own effort and time will be superior to anyone and everyone else’s effort and time. He fights to qualify his bid.
Do you see it? These interviews, one after the other that the hiring manager will engage are in sum absolutely a type of slow motion, one-at-a-time, auction where the effort and time is bid by each bidding candidate. And, each bidding candidate competes directly against each and all other bidding candidates. A job search is an auction! This truly is important.
The key for today is to be able to feel the competitive forces of the auction of the series of candidates, each bidding effort and time for the great treasure of a paying job, for the chance to exchange work for money. Tomorrow, we’ll start in on considering what we might do with this concept, to shorten your placement cycle!