Being Proactive Pays

Literally! We all know the concept, but I want to share with you a true story of how it was used in practice for job search. My friend (Mary – a false name) was laid off just a month ago and was told her last day will be July 24. What does she do?

Mary immediately calls her old company she previously quit (to get this current job) to see if her old position is still open. (Kudos to her for being so open minded and for keeping a good relationship even though she quit) To her surprise, her old position was still open. They were just finalizing on an internal candidate when Mary called and said they were willing to consider her, but it would need for them to open the job in HR to the public in order to hire her from the outside the company. They said they will get back to her next week.

Mary called me for advice and we strategized. Instead of waiting, we decided that she should email back as part of the thank you note to her manager expressing also the following:

  1. She will definitely take the job if they will offer it to her (she didn’t say this during their conversation)
  2. She can pick up exactly where she left off and she is ok with the job description as it is but she is happy to take on more responsibilities if it helps her manager (given she learned new skills from her current job)
  3. She is happy to help make the HR process easier if there is anything she can do.
  4. She looks forward to working with her again soon

Then follow up with a voice mail the next day to make sure the manager got her email and tell the manager to feel free to call if she had any other concerns

By not waiting, Mary had a chance to address any unspoken concerns her old manager may have had (such as would Mary take the job for sure if they went through the hassle of opening a position through HR? They have been looking for someone for 7 months) Also it highlights indirectly the benefit of hiring Mary back (no need to ramp up a new person and she already knows the quality of Mary’s work – less work for the manager). It also shows eagerness and enthusiasm (which all managers love in a candidate) without being pushy.

Long story short, Mary was able to talk to her manager again that week when Mary called her to leave that voice mail. She then went in for interviews and got the job a week later. It of course didn’t hurt that Mary was a top performer when she was at this company before. In this market, however, there is no guarantee especially if they were so deep in the hiring process and was almost going to hire someone else already.

Mary started this week at her old company with an increased salary! Nice work! The market may be looking up…

Moral of the story: Always maintain good relationships at any company you worked at, even after you leave. Be open minded and proactive!

Good luck out there!

– Lei

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