Q&A: Author gives job tips

Harvey Mackay, author of five New York Times best sellers, including the runaway No. 1 best seller, “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” is back with more advice about the hostile job market.

His new book, “Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You,” was 15th on the New York Times list for Hardcover Business Best Sellers as of April 1.

He is the founder and chairman of the MackayMitchell Envelope Company and a syndicated columnist across the country. He speaks to Fortune 500 companies about once a week and makes regular stops at colleges all over.

Mackay said “Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door” covers little known strategies everywhere from networking to interviewing, and he personally guarantees it will get you a job within six months of reading it.

Q: You’ve done a lot of speaking at colleges, so why should college students read this book?

A: The average college graduate this coming May, he or she will have 10 to 14 different job changes in their careers by the age of 38, and they will have three to five career changes before they retire, so what we’re talking about there is this perpetual job search out there in the marketplace today. For the last 40 years, I have counseled and advised over 500 students, graduating students, what to do with their careers and with their lives.and this atmosphere today as they graduate is the worst I have seen in 40 plus years.It’s an A to Z resource career book that will help them not only find a job, but if they already have a job coming out of school, how to keep their job and how to also climb the ladder of success and happiness.

Q. What’s one piece of advice would you give to students who are having trouble finding a job out of college?

A. The people trying to find a job out of college that are having trouble have to know the following: People buy from other people because of chemistry, because of likability, because of people skills. they must be confident for the job they’re applying for.people that are out there looking have to unequivocally Google the company and try and find something out about the company, but more importantly, they have to prepare to win, do their research on the person that’s doing the hiring, because they want to establish a common denominator. They want to humanize their job search.

Q. How important has networking become in the last few years?

A. Twenty-five years ago, 68 percent of all jobs were found through networking. Today, 25 years later, it’s the same 68 percent.25 years from now, this will not change.

Q. How can the tips in this book help people in other non-job related areas of their life?

A. This is not just a jobs book. This book is for entrepreneurs. This book is for people that are managers that are doing hiring and firing. This book is for people that need to become more creative in their lives. They have to think outside the box. They have to become a differentiator, and there’s all kinds of creative marketing ideas in the book. This will teach people how to interview.this will help you hire people, this will help you fire people.

Q. What advice would you give to students who might be looking to go to graduate school instead of facing the job market?

A. I am a 100 percent strong believer in the MBA or graduate programs. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.The additional expertise that you are learning will be augmented by the additional networking, lifetime networking, you will be able to do in your specific graduate program.

Q. The book opens up with a story about (Chicago Bulls head coach) Vinny Del Negro and his earlier interview for the Suns head coaching position when he didn’t have much experience. How important is it to interview for jobs even when you know you have slim chances?

A. Vinny Del Negro is a perfect example. Never coached in grade school, never coached in high school, never coached a game in college, and never coached in the pros, and yet they (Chicago Bulls) named him head coach.You do not have to have experience when you apply for any job. Many sharp companies, many sharp managers, will hire people without any experience whatsoever once they can show them in the interview that they’re a hungry fighter, that you don’t go to school once for a lifetime, you are in school all of your life, they agree to go back and take classes. Whatever the employer wants to further their skills, whatever it takes, they will do it. Once an employer knows that, then that’s all they have to know.Never say no for the other person.

Q. What are maybe two or three questions every interviewee should be ready to answer?

A. They want to know where you might be in three to five years, in other words, do you have a plan? What are your goals, what are your dreams, what are your aspirations? Prioritize your strengths and your weaknesses. What have you been criticized for during the last four years, and do you agree or disagree?

Q. What is the “Mackay 66” and how does it relate to business and job seekers?

A. When I was 21 years of age and graduated college, I was a salesman and there were 66 questions that I always wanted to find out about the purchasing managers that I was calling on. There are 66 questions while I’m building my relationship that I want to know about you. I want to know about where you went to school. I want to know about what turns you on. I want to know what your passions are. I want to know your likes and dislikes. I want to know if you’re married, if you have a family.all of that is to humanize my selling strategy. You want to know as much as you can about every single relationship you have. I’m always thinking what can I do for (you) and, here’s the real key, never expect anything in return.

Q. Is it best to be interviewed first, last or in the middle?

A. We’re brought up all our lives that first is best. Nothing could be further from the truth in a job hunt. It’s first is not best. If you’re going to be first, you’re going to be last. You forget 50 percent of what you hear in four hours, so you want to position yourself to be as close to the end, as close to the decisions making process as you can. If there are six candidates, you want to be sixth. You don’t want to be the warm-up act.

Q. How do you recommend people handle rejection, not only in job hunting, but also just in life?

A. I’ve never yet met a successful person that hasn’t had to overcome either a little or a lot of adversity in his or her life. When rejection comes, rejection does not have to be permanent. You cannot take rejection personally under any set of circumstances. You have to have the ability to bounce back.