From Job Vacancy to Employment in 7 Steps

From Job Vacancy to Employment in 7 Steps

You come across an interesting job vacancy – and then what? In 7 steps from job vacancy to employment.

You desire a change in your career, and sometimes you come across appealing job vacancies. You read the job description, but quite quickly, you set it aside. You are uncertain if this is the right job for you or if you meet all the requirements. There’s no 100% match. Should you invest time in it? The thought that it might not work out dominates, and even though the job vacancy lingers in the back of your mind, you hesitate to take action. Sound familiar? This is a dilemma that I see many of my clients struggling with. In this blog, I describe how to handle it and provide a practical step-by-step plan to determine whether it’s worth applying.

Making It Too Big: Roadblocks
A problem with job applications is that many people tend to make it too big in their minds. They feel like they are already leaving their current employer the moment they look at a job vacancy. And that saying “YES” to the job happens when they write a cover letter. That’s not the case, of course. In reality, there are several steps leading up to your decision to accept the job. At each step, you can reflect and decide whether to proceed to the next one. Fortunately, at each step, you gain new information that can help you make a decision. If you can view the entire process as a step-by-step plan to determine if this job truly suits you, the chances of getting stuck are smaller. It becomes more of an exploration from which you can learn and gain insight into what job truly suits you. For more tips on adopting the right mindset for a new job, watch the video of the online workshop I conducted on this topic in June.

Concretely, there are 7 different steps between reading a job vacancy and deciding whether to say YES to a job.

Step 1: Check the values from your work compass
See if the job vacancy aligns with the values from your work compass. In a career coaching process, I always help individuals create a work compass containing five crucial values they want to see in their future work. You can also easily do it yourself by choosing five values from a list that you want to see in your work.

Understanding what is important to you in your work is crucial when looking for a new job. You can only truly thrive in a job if your key work values are present. If, at this first step, you realize that the job vacancy doesn’t align with your values, it’s a significant reason not to proceed. For example, if “sustainability” is a crucial value for you, and you come across a fantastic job vacancy for a content manager at the Ford automobile brand, the role fits well, but you have no interest in cars, especially not in this brand known for lacking sustainability. In this case, you have a good reason not to apply.

Does that mean you should do nothing? No, you can still do something. Even if the organization doesn’t align with your values, you now know that a similar role at another organization might be suitable for you. You can decide to have a networking conversation with someone holding such a position at an organization that appeals to you and prioritizes the value of ‘sustainability’, like Tesla or the NS (Dutch Railways). An action you can take is, for example, checking on LinkedIn with whom you could have an informative conversation at this organization. This way, you expand your network and find out if your perception of the role and organization is accurate. It may also be that you don’t know if a value is reflected in the job vacancy. It’s challenging to assess on paper whether your future colleagues have a sense of humor. That’s something you can gauge after speaking with people from the organization. Then you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Conduct a ‘job vacancy analysis’

Examine the job vacancy thoroughly using a template. Many job vacancies seek a ‘unicorn’: a good leader with excellent writing skills and high precision. Often, they seek someone who performed the role previously but also has none of the pitfalls of that person. Realize that almost no one meets all the requirements. To find out where the emphasis lies, it’s essential to call and gather more information. After the job vacancy analysis, if you’re still curious about the role, proceed to step 3!

Step 3: Call and ask questions
Many people prefer to skip this step. Therefore, you have an advantage if you make the call. NB! Don’t assume beforehand that the organization isn’t interested or is too busy. Based on the first two steps, create a calling script. Ask substantive questions (not about terms of employment). Simple questions that require little preparation include:

• What is the challenge in this role?
• I see several tasks; where is the emphasis?
• What kind of person are you looking for?
• What does a typical workday look like?
Try to find out who they are looking for and what’s happening in the organization. This can clarify where the emphasis lies in the role. If you’re still enthusiastic after the call, proceed to step 4!

Step 4: Write a compelling cover letter and update your CV
Compose a compelling cover letter and update your CV. Ensure that you particularly justify (using the STARR method) why you meet the two most important competencies they are asking for. See also the tips for the cover letter and CV that my colleague Judith Schoorlemmer provides in her video.

Step 5: The first job interview
Prepare well for the interview with your partner or a career coach. Watch my colleague Judith’s video with super useful tips beforehand. Ensure you have concrete STARR examples of the most critical competencies they’re looking for, and that you can succinctly explain why you’re interested in the job. Approach the first interview as an exploration: a way for you to feel and see if it suits you.

Step 6: The second job interview
Have the second job interview and see if you’re still as enthusiastic when talking to other people in the organization. Any doubts? Speak with more people within the organization or shadow someone before deciding.

Step 7: Decide if you want a salary negotiation
Only now should you decide whether you really want the job. If you have doubts after the two job interviews, don’t proceed. If you’re still enthusiastic, engage in the salary negotiation.

In summary, if you find yourself doing nothing with an exciting job vacancy, take a good look at what is holding you back. Allow yourself time to explore the role and organization. By viewing it as an exploration process consisting of 7 steps, you gradually get a better understanding of whether the job truly suits you.