Recently I conducted an interview coaching session for a senior professional who we can call Mr.Ramesh (for confidentiality reasons). 42 by age having an overall experience of 22 years in marketing, Ramesh is currently running his own consultancy business for the past five years. Since scaling up is becoming a challenge and revenues are stagnant, Ramesh has decided to come back to a corporate job. He was in employment for the initial 17 years of his career. During job interviews, he finds it difficult to answer the following question convincingly:
“Why do you want to move out of your own business set up and return to the corporate”?
Ramesh shared with me “somewhere it gives an impression that I could not run my business successfully, hence am returning to a job”. I need guidance on how to handle this perception.
This is how our exchange of conversation went:
Me: Who owns your business?
Ramesh: My wife and I are active partners.
Me: When did you’ll start and what was the objective of setting up the business?
Ramesh: It was our joint decision to start the consulting business 5 years ago. I wanted to try my hand at entrepreneurship. But frankly now the revenue growth is just about stagnant and I would like to take up a job which offers good career prospects and also reasonable monetary gains.
Me: Remember, the way one puts it across is important. If you directly say that you wanted to try your hand at entrepreneurship and now revenues are stagnant, it may be perceived as you not being successful with your venture and hence wanting to return to a job. While it is natural for someone to evaluate the job option as the business did not meet the desired growth objective (as there are personal priorities), it needs to be presented in a positive way.
Ramesh: How does one do that?
Me: Ok. You said your wife is going to continue running the business independently as she is now equipped and also is happy with the level of established revenues coming in. Right? (Ramesh acknowledges yes) . First, you can proudly share that an entrepreneurial experience taught you through unique experiences aspects which in a job you may perhaps not get exposure to. Like right from using your personal brand equity and reputation to procure clients, freedom to experiment, independently developing a holistic strategy and constantly evolving it with complete accountability, managing to run the business on limited budgets with focus on pay offs, hiring teams and building them, team retention, personal branding through marketing on social media….. and other similar areas. Mention that a combination of your earlier stint in the corporate with this entrepreneurial experience makes you a candidate, unlike many others. Then you may add that since your wife wants to run the business, she will continue to do so and it meets her career objective.
Ramesh: Alright that sounds fine. How do I handle the perception that I am considering the option of returning to a corporate job because I was unsuccessful with my business?
Me: You know that running a business has multiple variables and many of the factors are not under your control, for example, funds drying up due to the sudden loss of clients. It is not advisable to focus on the negative and instead look for the most positive aspects. You can strongly present success stories of the turn around phases that you brought about any of you continuing to evolve as a leader. To back up your claims, you can share the names of your select clients which are from the same business category as that of the prospective employer. These will serve as references. Also, it is a good idea to share references of your ex-bosses (when you were employed) for the hiring manager to conduct a reference check.
Ramesh: OK. And if they ask me to share success stories, which ones do I share?
Me: Share the ones where your experience comes closest to what the prospective employer company and the job requires. It is important to relate your experience and success stories to the requirement of the job applied for, not general ones. Which means your research and homework on the prospective company needs to be very deep and detailed. Importantly you need to reflect the excitement which the job offers because let us remember – ‘Enthusiasm is contagious’.
Ramesh: When they ask me about my salary expectations, how to handle that?
Me: While handling the compensation part, it is important to keep the following factors in mind 1] The value which you as a candidate get to the table 2] The industry standards 3] Your excitement about the Job profile and career prospects it offers 4] Your current situation on the career front. And remember to first build value with the prospective employer and then discuss compensation.
Ramesh: Great. That gives me inputs to handle this tricky question. Thank you.
I am happy to share the candidate’s feedback below:
Candidate feedback – “I have started receiving many interviews calls within 2 months after taking the service of Job Interview Coaching by Aspiration Plus. When I started talking to the Team, I understood how to tackle and connect with the prospective employers while applying for a job. It is very difficult to find time from the daily routine and I appreciate the effort taken by Team Aspiration Plus of searching for relevant job opportunities and making customised applications on my behalf. The process of updating various portals done on a regular basis on my behalf is excellent which has increased the visibility of my profile. The cover letter used while making applications is outstanding. The follow-up technique coached by the team is very effective and the article shared on How to follow-up is extremely useful as the steps can be followed every time you want to grab the opportunity. The valuable article shared on how to answer the difficult interview questions like ‘Why are you leaving your current organization’, is very helpful for me as it contains some unique points which I never thought of. The interview coaching session with Mr Sachar was very inspiring as I received a lot of knowledge and tips on how to crack the interview. The coaching session has helped me a lot in my interviews as I could experience that the interviewers were more engaged and interested. Overall service is impressive and extremely valuable, I have never come across such a service. Aspiration Plus Team is doing a great job.”
In case you have any challenging situations in your career, please mention in ‘comments’ section below. I will be happy to provide my inputs.
Happy Job hunting!!