What are the potential risks a company or manager might take when hiring me for this particular opportunity?  What about within their company and/or industry?  Why else might I not get hired for this job?

Do you currently ask yourself some version of these questions as you are applying and interviewing for jobs?  Do you put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager/s and try and identify the “candidate hiring concerns” they might have regarding your resume, background and overall candidacy?

A big opportunity where candidates can improve the quality of their job searching and interviewing is by taking the time to identify the skills or other areas they’re lacking related to a job description and requirements list. Once those candidate hiring risks are identified, the plan can then be developed to mitigate those potential threats to you getting a job offer!

For example, what if you are a seasoned project manager but you find yourself applying to jobs in environments using the Scrum methodology and you have never worked with that professionally?  The threat/risk to your candidacy would be “no professional scrum experience.”  Recognizing that initiative, desire to learn, and overall commitment are traits that many managers deem more valuable than existing experience with every requirement on their wish list, how could you overcome that risk?

In this scenario, your risk mitigation strategies could include:

  1. Invest two to four hours a week on general agile, and specific Scrum, training.
  2. Take training on and explore obtaining a relevant certification, such as ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) or Scrum Master.
  3. Identify an Agile or Scrum specific group (try seeing if a local PMI has an Agile sub-group or search MeetUp).
  4. Apply principles to your daily personal life. It’s amazing where you can insert daily scrum meetings into your life, such as at the dinner table!
  5. Engage in skills-based volunteering or participate in a local relevant community event. Most cities have skills-based volunteering or community events, where you can exercise skills you want to develop professionally while benefiting others at the same time, you just have to find them! For this scenario, the Project Management for Change organization hosts several Project Management Day of Service events, which is a great channel to help nonprofits, network, and run a short project using Scrum principles!
  6. Consult and collaborate! Simply posing “I’m a project manager and I have a strong interest in expanding my knowledge base with agile, especially scrum. Do you have any recommendations for training, communities or events, or other ways I could get some hands on experience with agile scrum?” to others is a powerful way to get quality advice!

To apply this principle to your job search going forward, take these steps:

  1. Ask yourself “What would prevent me from getting an interview/offer? What are the threats/risks, based on the job description and company that a manager might have regarding my candidacy?”
  2. Apply the who, what, when, where, and how. What could I do to overcome these hiring risks?  Who could provide helpful advice?  Where (i.e. resources, groups, training sites, etc.) could I go to increase knowledge in certain areas?  When should I do all this, and how much time should I invest?  How else could I combat these potential concerns/risks?
  3. Determine your ‘Communication Strategy’ to address and/or overcome risks. How will you mitigate risks via cover letter/application and then in a post-interview thank you letter? How will you address via an interview?

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