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In Your Job Search, Know When to Pick Your Battles

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by Manda Milling

about 2 years ago

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As those close to me (e.g. those who share my household) never fail to remind me, I do not have any ability in when to pick my battles. I am not known for my patience (at the best of times) or my even-handed approach to domestic matters. For example, I can blow up pretty easily when having to collect clothes off the floor for the nineteenth time every morning or when it's my fault that the sports gear wasn't packed as I had misread the school timetable. I know I can hear a lot of you saying I am perfectly justified in blowing up about these types of situations and, of course, I completely agree with you all. However, it's mostly due to frustration that builds up to an explosive point. For the job seeker, this is also applicable. 

At times, job seekers can push and push for certain positions out of a sense of frustration, but, in reality, there are certain criteria the recruitment consultant has been briefed on that are nonnegotiable. Recently, one of our consultants had an applicant who approached him about the same opportunity three times in one week. This candidate was very well experienced, had great qualifications and ordinarily would have been a great fit – except he did not speak Mandarin. In this case, the hiring manager required someone with Mandarin speaking skills, as the business was a startup, staffed by Chinese expats, in a Mandarin speaking office.  

The bilingual language skills were essential and completely nonnegotiable. No matter how well suited we thought the candidate was for the role, without the language skills, his application was not going to proceed any further. Unfortunately the applicant, out of a sense of frustration, became increasingly annoyed as the response from our consultant was the same each time he rang. It's frustrating all round for everyone. In this case, language skills are just as important as technical skills. Like me, this applicant needed to know when to pick his battles.

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