A coworker of mine had this rule: get at least one job offer from a different company every year. Every year. He didn’t often take it, though, but he went through the extreme effort of constantly applying for positions, going through interviews, and getting the offers.
When he explained this process to me, I asked him why he did it. After all, then it wasn’t like there was turnover, layoffs and outsourcing going on. The world was still far away.
What he told me was that going through the entire job search effort kept him sharp in doing interviews. It told him how competitive the market was for his skills – and what skills he needed to get to improve. It told him whether his pay was correct in his current position or whether the market was better than he was getting right now.
At the time, I’m sure I had this blank look on my face hiding I thought what he was doing was excessive. Or crazy.
I don’t think that way anymore.
In a global economy, we’re competing for positions with everyone on the planet. Not just down the street. Companies know this. It is why the interview process has become a gauntlet. Talent, in many ways, is cheap when you look at your talent pool as everyone working in corporations across the planet.
And what do most of us do when we finally decide we need a job? At that point we start to hone our lost interviewing skills – and find out how much work they need. We discover we don’t have the basic job skills to do the work we want – and it is too late to start getting them before our job is gone and we are on our own. We start to build our network – when most of the people we know have left our lives while we ignored them leaving the company or our immediate social circle.
But if you were constantly looking for that next gig, the thought of a layoff isn’t threatening. In fact, you may find a better position before your current work gets tough. You’ve had the interview practice, you know the market, and you can evaluate what you told by the hiring manager.
If you were getting a job offer a year, wouldn’t you feel more confident about your ability to find work?