It’s not difficult to understand the principle of “The 10th Thing”. Unfortunately, however, it is difficult to do “The 10th Thing”.

In fact, that is the whole point. “The 10th Thing” is the thing that when you have breezed through the first nine things, you don't want to do.

Why don't you want to do it? Maybe because it takes too much time or energy or seems unimportant to you (this is the most common, and most deadly!).  Maybe because you find it difficult physically or mentally.  There are lots of reasons why not.  But the reasons why you don't do "The 10th Thing" are not nearly as important as the fact that you have the opportunity to step up to the plate and do it now. 

When you do “The 10th Thing” you will earn rewards that come only to those who do more than the things that most people are willing to do.  [Look up the Michael Jordan story if you doubt me on this.]

Meet Susan, the Super Star
Let me give you an example. I had a client, Susan, who was a top producer in sales. She was such a star that the only reason she was job hunting was that she had moved to a new location with her husband. Susan was an ideal candidate. She had an engaging personality and an uncanny ability to explain a complex product in simple language. She was fearless in the face of customer objections. 

The problem
Every job seeker, no matter how talented and experienced, has a challenge that seems to be uniquely his or hers.  Susan’s challenge was this:  she would ace the interviews, consistently ending up in the final group or pair of candidates, but would fail to land offer after offer. For a person who excelled at closing the deal, this was particularly frustrating. 

She needed to figure out what was going on. We reviewed her search process. Powerful resume? Check. Customized cover letters? Check. Solid networking?  Yes. In fact, Susan had a surprising amount of local support considering she was new in town.

The solution
Since we were not able to identify the problem, I recommended that Susan request feedback from the recruiters of the companies that had interviewed her. I explained that it is commonplace these days to ask for such feedback when you make it to the final selection, but fail to receive an offer. I told her this was a good idea in those cases where you have a good relationship with a forthcoming recruiter. If a candidate has befriended one or more of the interviewers, she can generally receive some type of constructive feedback from them, personally or through the recruiter. (See my blog post on “The Purpose of the Interview is to Make a Friend.) 

Oops, Not so fast…
Susan balked. She just did not want to do it.  She felt it would be awkward.  She didn’t think she would get any feedback.  Moreover, even if she did, she believed the feedback wouldn’t be honest. Eventually Susan admitted she just didn’t like criticism and was afraid of any feedback she would receive. She worried that if she did receive negative feedback, it would “get me down and I need to stay up”. 

Susan’s 10th thing, the thing she just couldn’t make herself do, was to ask for constructive feedback when she “failed to make the sale”.  No doubt, many people would agree with Susan.

Eventually Susan snagged a great job, although it took several more months for her to do so.  Even as we celebrated over lunch near her new office, I knew that her protracted job search would remain a puzzler for me.   Why did it take so long for such an attractive candidate? With her record, I thought her job search would be a “slam dunk”. 

Mystery solved
Susan was in her new job for almost a year before I solved the mystery. An HR event provided the opportunity for me to speak with two internal recruiters who remembered Susan well. In separate conversations, they told me the same story. Hiring managers were attracted by Susan’s record of success with complex sales and she was their first choice. However, with a spouse who could easily be transferred again, they worried: “Would Susan stay with the company long enough to bring in the really big deals, the ones that require deep relationships and years to finalize?” They wondered about this, but did not feel free or even comfortable asking Susan about her plans.  So they went with the other candidate. And Susan lost out. 

When I thought about it, I realized their concern made sense.  Sadly, Susan could have easily eased their minds by volunteering information.  She and her husband had made the decision to accept the transfer only because they had family in the new area and good schools for their preschoolers to enter. Susan and her family are not going anywhere anytime soon, a fact she would have shared readily had she known it might be a factor in a final hiring decision. 

But Susan didn’t do “The 10th Thing”.  She failed to ask for feedback because it was uncomfortable for her to do. And it cost her.  Given Susan’s earnings record, a two months’ hiring delay cost her over $15,000.  

Other examples of “The 10th Thing”
You may relate to Susan’s hesitancy to ask for feedback.  But there are many versions of the “10th thing”.  We all have a “10th thing” and you’ll probably discover it in your job search. With a little luck and self-awareness, you’ll recognize it, overcome your hesitancy, and do it anyway.

“The 10th Thing” feels boring, repetitious, unnecessary, or too hard to do for many.  You may recognize yours in these tasks that have challenged some of my clients:

1.   Establish an ideal work situation before jumping into a job search.

2.   Quantify the results of their accomplishments.

3.   Review job postings to identify the key skills to stress in marketing and interviews.

4.   Engage a team of supporters.

5.   Seek out contacts in their target companies to transmit their application to HR.

6.   Identify companies in their geographical area that actually hire people in their role.

7.   Translate a complicated job description into words that can be understood and
      repeated by those who want to tell others about their credentials.

8.   Maintain relationships with recruiters and hiring managers from previous interviews
      in which an offer was not made.

9.   Provide more than “lip support” to others in exchange for help.

10. Exchange computer time for human interaction.

11. Schedule information interviews to learn more about their role or industry.

12. Complete a practice interview and debrief; complete a second practice interview
       and debrief.

13. Identify personal “sticky issues” and address them in marketing and interviews.

14. Adapt their communication style and content to that of their interviewer.

15. Compare their job offer to their ideal work situation.

Frankly, I've barely warmed up here, but you get the picture!

It’s funny until you stop and think about it
One of my favorite jokes drives home the point I want to make here. 
Two campers, Jim and Sam, were preparing to take a trip into bear country.  Sam’s wife lamented, “Sam, honey, I’m worried that if you encounter a bear, you won’t be able to outrun him.”  Sam wasn’t worried and responded, “No problem, dear, I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun Jim.” 

Do one more thing than your competitors and you’ll get the job. 

What I hope you learned from this post:
Every step in your job search won’t be easy or come naturally to you. It's in completing those difficult steps when you show what you are made of.

What you should do:
 “The 10th Thing”. Recognize it, understand why it is difficult for you, and do it anyway.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find a good job fast!



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