Case Studies

The following six case studies are true. The names of the Job-Guy clients have been changed for confidentiality.

Changing Careers
Creating a Job
Interviewing
Gaining Focus
Managing Internal Campaign
Networking

*  Changing Careers

The Problem: Bob was a senior executive for a hospital. An “action junkie” who loved to help people, Bob was always on the move; when he wasn’t at work, he was contributing to non-profits. After gaining sufficient expertise, he even started small non-profits on his own to fill service voids as he discovered them.

Bob would have loved to commit himself to non-profit work full time. But research showed that, since he had never officially held the title of Executive Director, it was unlikely that a non-profit would be willing or able to match his six-figure salary. So he could only afford to commit to his passion part time as he continued to mark time at his hospital job.

The Solution: Job-Guy helped Bob see that, in order for him to realize his ambition to help people, he must become more involved in cause-related endeavors. But he also knew that his salary requirements and lack of formal experience would prevent most traditional non-profits from hiring him. So he needed to find a for-profit enterprise with non-profit sensibilities, or create one.

Through a mutual acquaintance, Bob arranged for an introduction to a local entrepreneur who was known to invest in healthcare technology ventures. He discovered that this entrepreneur owned a number of small companies, the most interesting of which held the rights to a technology that stored and encrypted patient medical records for remote access by physicians. Because of his hospital background, it was easy for Bob to see the possibilities for this new technology. He was also able to determine that, despite a tremendous product, the entrepreneur lacked access to decision-makers in the Healthcare field, contacts that Bob had in abundance. So an alliance was born.

In order to appeal to potential customers in the Healthcare industry, Bob and his new partner elected to start a non-profit clinical information registry to benefit cancer victims. This registry became the client base for the for-profit enterprise that was to follow.

The Result: Because of the backing of the for-profit entity, Bob’s lack of non-profit management was a non-issue as he was able to duplicate his hospital income and earned the Executive Director title for the top of his résumé.

*  Creating a Job

The Problem: Martin had been a senior Information Technology professional for many years, serving as Director of IT for one Fortune 200 Retail company and as CIO in another. Desiring more time with his family and preferring a hands-on role, Martin left his lucrative position to create his own company. But the negatives of finding customers, securing benefits and administration eventually outweighed the advantages of doing work that he loved. He concluded that, although he hated the politics and meddling of the large corporations, he enjoyed the stability and existing customer base that only an established company could bring. At the same time, he wanted to move from Boston to the Midwest.

The Solution: Job-Guy helped Martin target geographically appropriate small companies. Since he was interested in defining his own role and achieving relative autonomy, Martin concluded that he would most likely have to create a job that would report directly to a CEO. This meant finding a company with an unrealized “opportunity” substantial enough to warrant concern from the top of the org chart, yet not so large as to represent an overwhelming obstacle.

Martin determined this “opportunity” would most likely be found in a company that was experiencing dramatic sales growth, operating in a transaction-oriented business, managing IT strategy with individual contributors, and was not likely to be sold.

Through research and networking, Martin identified a handful of companies that met his selection criteria. Because he was relocating, he contacted industry leaders in his desired geography to expand his network and obtain referrals. Armed with these new relationships, he arranged meetings through which he outlined identified “missed opportunities” and presented alternatives for the CEOs to consider.

The Result: Martin was hired into a newly created CIO position by the first company he seriously pursued, a small grocery store chain in the Midwest. He underwent no formal interviews and negotiated a salary that was solidly within his targeted range. Martin is now hands-on, interference-free and happily settled with a balanced lifestyle, near his family, in a geography that he loves.

*  Interviewing

The Challenge: Jennifer is a young professional with strong experience in the Financial Services industry. Despite successful early stage career growth, Jennifer elected to return to school to obtain an MBA. Upon graduation, Jennifer successfully arranged dozens of interviews, yet failed to obtain a single offer. As she had previously won every job for which she competed, she was at a loss to explain her lack of success now that she was armed with even stronger qualifications. All interviewer feedback was positive except one person who told her she was overqualified.

Jennifer had no serious flaws in presentation: she dressed well, exhibited strong non-verbal behaviors, actively listened to the interviewers and followed up quickly and professionally. Although she was going after some jobs that were beneath her career level, the majority of her interviews were appropriate to her experience and education. She was presenting her message with conviction and clarity, asked business-oriented questions and responded appropriately to opportunities that arose from those questions.

What Jennifer was NOT doing was tailoring her message to individual interviewers. She told the interviewers what she wanted them to know instead of what they needed to hear, based on their specific level of understanding and interests. Instead of focusing on the impact she could bring, she invested the majority of her efforts on skills she had used in the past, forcing the decision-makers to try to figure out how she could benefit them. She was also equally powerful in all her interviews, perhaps making a positive impression on senior managers but intimidating those with whom she would be working most closely.

The Solution: After a number of mock interviews with, and resultant feedback from, Job-Guy, Jennifer refined her message to align with the needs of each individual interviewer. She took the time to sincerely inquire into each person’s definition of the ideal candidate and adjusted her content and presentation to meet them in their comfort zones. She emphasized impact over skills, leaving no question as to how she could make life easier for everyone she met. She sent individual notes to each interviewer, playing back the concepts that she learned in the language that she heard from each individual, making sure she gave credit where credit was due.

The Result: In the three interviews after making these adjustments, she got two offers, one of which she accepted before the third company could get through its hiring process.

*  Gaining Focus

The Challenge: Ron had managed the family Hospitality business for many years, at first out of interest, later because of obligation. Although the business was privately owned and free of investor involvement, relatives regularly interfered with business operations which resulted in significant duplication of effort, wasted energy and stress among the family members. It was clear to Ron that he would soon have to leave the only professional life he ever knew….but to where, doing what?

The Solution: Job-Guy helped Ron separate the proverbial trees from the forest. Ron created a list of the things he liked about the family business: contact with a broad range of people, negotiations, service, planning, troubleshooting, organizing, networking, strategizing, independence, flexible hours, playing golf, and making money. He then listed those things he preferred to leave behind: cleaning crews, maintenance, being tied to one location, responsibility for others’ performance, and unhealthy interaction with his family.

Ron used job listings to identify roles that appeared to involve most of the things he enjoyed and less of the issues that he disliked. Ron knew that for him to effectively decide on a new field, he must first spend time with respected professionals who were performing the roles he had identified. Through this “day-in-the-life” strategy, he was able to get the visceral feel for various jobs and make an educated decision on which were the best fit for him. This approach also helped him establish a network to access hiring decision-makers for the jobs he ended up pursuing.

The Result: Ron chose to become a Financial Planner. In his new role, he has the opportunity to meet interesting people at different locations every day. He can make his own schedule, earn tons of money, is concerned only for his own performance, and best of all….play golf three times a week.

*  Managing Internal Campaign

The Challenge: Tom wanted to move back to the Northeast where he grew up, but he was making very good money as Director of Vendor Relations for a California-based defense contractor. Tom liked his job; however, the combination of a demanding travel schedule and laborious daily commute were interfering with life balance. The fact that his extended family was New England-based meant that he saw them more on business trips than on the family occasions that would have been his preference. Since his company had no presence in the Northeast, Tom concluded that he would resign his position and find work back home.

To complicate matters, Tom worked an ambitious schedule. He was usually out of the house before his wife and children were up and rarely home in time to see them go to bed. Although he could do some job search activities on airplanes and in his hotel room, the confidential nature of his work made networking difficult and risky. So he would need to conduct a confidential search within the limited time he had available.

The Solution: With the guidance of Job-Guy, Tom had a revelation: his company was spending thousands of dollars sending him east for extended business trips. The expense of housing, meals, airfare, rental cars and equipment equaled several times his annual salary. Since he was spending less and less time in the office, it became clear to him that being based in California no longer made good business sense. But his company was large, very controlling, and set in its ways; he would have one chance to make a pitch and that pitch had to be compelling.

Tom created a time and expense analysis that outlined how much his travel was costing the company. He projected these expenses over several years and created a proposal to support his position. He demonstrated the competitive disadvantage he experienced versus those contractors who could respond more quickly to East Coast specific issues. He closed, emphasizing that, although he was very happy in his current situation, if the company would benefit from his being based in Massachusetts, he might consider moving. The company appreciated Tom’s apparent willingness to sacrifice and requested he relocate to Massachusetts.

The Result: Tom moved at the company’s expense. He received full salary and was allowed to work out of his house, enhancing his quality of life beyond what even Tom had thought possible.

*  Networking

The Challenge: Jack was a long-term Supermarket Store Manager. Although he still enjoyed the food industry, he became increasingly disinterested in managing subordinates and the custodial nature of his 75-80 hour work schedule. Jack prefered to be responsible only for himself and decided he would sell food to grocery store chains and restaurants. He asked his network to let him know if they heard of any openings; all were happy to help and took multiple copies of his résumé to pass around.

However, Jack had given too much power to his contacts. He neglected to consider that, although his contacts were willing to help, short of knowing of open positions, they were not sure what they could do. By the time he heard of vacancies, the requirements had already been determined and candidates with demonstrated food sales experience identified. On paper, Jack was never as attractive as those who worked for the competition, so Human Resources never seriously considered him.

The Solution: With some coaching from Job-Guy, Jack accepted the fact that he needed to determine which companies were was going to be hiring sales people before specifications, competition and HR came into play. He determined that his extensive knowledge of the players within the grocery business, customer trends, competitors’ promotional strategies, pricing structure, promotional schedules and replenishment programs would be of great value to a company that was missing revenue opportunities. So instead of using his network for résumé distribution, he focused it on helping him find companies that were losing market share. Since most of his targeted companies sent representatives to his facility, accessing the decision-makers was easy and convenient.

The Result: Jack convinced the first company he approached that he could teach their representatives everything they needed to know about how to appeal to Supermarket Store Managers to win prime display space, quicker inventory replenishment and promotional support to gain competitive advantage. This food distribution company was thrilled to match his salary to become an individual contributor with a five-day work week.

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