Rethinking Job Seeker Motivation: The Dating Game

by Andrew Stott

(also published at LinkedIn Career Services Professionals Group  – 17/03/2014 – )


Motivating the job seeker to work diligently through the steps needed to maximise success in each selection process can be a big challenge.  Encouraging the job seeker to apply a dating mindset to target employers can help.

The MBA job seeker is typically a smart, successful student immersed in an intensive course program, so often vastly underestimates the importance of the undemanding but time-consuming tasks required to be competitive in selection processes. Career services professionals can feel frustrated if job seekers do not make the effort to use the information and tools provided to succeed in their job search.  

So how can you use the dating analogy to make a difference?

 Step 1 – Drawing the analogy

If you can get your job seekers to acknowledge that happiness in their job is just as important as happiness at home (and in many case jobs last longer than relationships), then it should follow that for many, more effort is required for “dating” their dream job and employer!  Showing them through selection data that, like the dating game, job searching is competitive, so they need to be proactive. And, like dating, being out of the market for a few years has probably left them out of touch with the new rules of the game!

Step 2 – Finding the right match

Some job seekers do not know what they are looking for. Help them define some broad parameters depending on their own qualities and experience (TARGET). Focus is important. They wouldn’t send their photo to 100 dating partners (would they?!), so why send a CV to 100 employers? Find out more about employers first; only a few will “fit” with the job seeker’s profile (RESEARCH). How many blind “dates” can they cope with?

Step 3 – Tailoring profile and application

Like dating, job searching has been transformed by technology. How would the job seeker use social media to project his/her personal profile? So, why not do the same when job hunting?  Help them to think about using LinkedIn and other media as they might think about professional dating services. Make sure they make their application is personal to the job and employer (APPLY): just like a date, your target employer wants to feel special!

Step 4 – Preparing for the first “date”

Push them to prepare for first interviews just like they might for first dates (INTERVIEW).  What should they consider about their appearance? What are appropriate discussion topics? What are the really important things they need to find out? How would they respond to awkward questions? Should they call or write the day after? And so on.

Step 5 – Negotiating the “proposal”

If they are successful in interviews, they may get more than one job offer. Help them negotiate and decide if they are ready to say “I do” (NEGOTIATE).  Mapping offers against their original objectives can help them apply a rational approach to what can be an emotional decision.

Find out about our TRAIN methodology (Target-Research-Apply-Interview-Negotiate) at

H1B quota date approaching

By Andrew Stott

The H1B quota (for 2015) opens on 1 April 2014, so if you plan to work (legally) in the US, you should be well on the way to requesting employer or academic sponsorship for your application. 

Many international professionals I talk to want to work in the US and the main barrier to this is obtaining a visa, unless you are, or are planning to marry, a US national (and even then it is not straightforward). The main working visa for highly educated professionals is known as the H1B, one of many types of visa for “aliens” to enter the US.

There is a limit or cap to the number of visas issued in any fiscal year, limited to 65,000. Additionally the first 20,000 applicants with a US Masters degree or higher are exempt from the cap, so effectively 85,000 foreigners admitted. The US makes an announcement as soon as the quota is filled and last year’s quota was filled in less than 5 days although in 2013 (for 2014) this was not until June and in 2012 (for 2013) in November. Wikipedia also has a long post on the topic at

According to the US Citizen and Immigration Services website (, this visa category “applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.” So whether you are a highly educated careerist or a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability you should have your process well under way.

For more tips, tools and templates on your job hunt, register with us at 

Networking: You have more connections than you think!

By Andrew Stott

Those of you early in your career may think you have no “network” but you will be surprised once you register in Linkedin as to how many people you can reach through your own friends and family. This is really important when it comes to securing “informational interviews” about sectors, employers and jobs you are interested in. 

Many people I talk to in their early twenties are sceptical about opportunities for networking, but not only is there a real need to do it in today’s competitive job market, but there are more opportunities than you think.

Linkedin now prompts you to  map your network through your email address list, your college and any work opportunities you may have had during your student days. This means that you may well have access to employers and sectors in which you are interested through introductions from your immediate contact circle.

So what do you do with your network? Using your network to get informational interviews means letting your friends, family or other contacts know you are interested in sector X or employer Y and seeing who they in turn know. Networking does NOT mean asking someone to use their influence to get you a job (although that still goes on in certain countries), and as long as you stay on the topic of learning more about the employer, industry and the selection process, you will gather lots of valuable information to help you compete effectively against other candidates.

You may be surprised how many people who you don’t even know directly are willing and indeed interested in helping you to do your homework in preparation for your next job. They have all “been there” and they know how different and competitive selection processes are and also remember what it was like to not really know very much about what employer or job they were joining until they had started the job.

Let us know how we can help you with networking by mailing us at