A Recruiter’s Perspective on Job Search Strategy Part 2: Interviewing with Kate Sargent

A Recruiter’s Perspective on Job Search Strategy Part 2: Interviewing

Kate Sargent is a talent acquisition expert and job search strategy coach, assisting both companies and candidates alike in matching top talent with career defining roles. In Part 2 of their deep dive conversation, Kate and Roy dig into best practices for interview preparation, how to effectively assess whether a job opportunity is a good fit, the most common mistakes job seekers make when interviewing, and what interviewers are listening for in the process.

Kate lends a unique perspective to the conversation – she’s served as Head of Global Talent Acquisition for iconic brands like Allbirds and Method, and has most recently served as the VP of People Operations at The Citizenry. Simultaneously, Kate’s built a successful career coaching business, helping candidates refine their search strategy, hone their job seeking assets, and distill their experience into highly relevant and engaging interviews. Her expansive knowledge of the talent pipeline and acquisition process make this discussion essential listening for both candidates and recruiters. 

Listen to the podcast

Highlights from our conversation

  • Common interviewing mistakes (1:19)
  • Tips and tricks for getting back on track during an interview (5:21)
  • How interviewees can gather information about a potential opportunity during the interview process (10:00)
  • What you should know about a company before interviewing (11:28)
  • One important skill to demonstrate interviews (13:44)
  • How to expertly answer the notorious “weaknesses” question (16:10)
  • What interviewers are listening for in a job seeker’s responses (20:56)
  • Assessing whether a role is right for you as a job seeker (23:06)
  • Kate’s advice on staying resilient during the job search process (25:01)
  • The importance of being a good steward for others (26:56)

SHOW TRANSCRIPT – Job Search Strategy Part 2: Interviewing

[00:00:00] Roy Notowitz: Hello and welcome to How I Hire, the podcast that taps directly into the best executive hiring advice and insights. I’m Roy Notowitz, founder and CEO of Noto Group Executive search. You can learn more about us at notogroup.com. As a go-to firm for purpose-driven companies, we’ve been lucky to work with some of the world’s most inspiring leaders as they’ve tackled the challenge of building high performance leadership teams. Now I’m sitting down with some of these very people to spark a conversation about how to achieve success in hiring and create purposeful leadership for the next generation of companies. Today we’re sharing part two of our deep dive into a recruiter’s perspective on job search strategy. If you missed part one of our conversation, check it out at howihire.com or wherever you get your podcasts. I’m joined again by Kate Sargent, a talent acquisition expert and coach. We’re going to focus on what job seekers need to know about interviewing and evaluating job opportunities and what interviewers are listening for during the interview process. Let’s pick up right where we left off with Kate. Let’s talk a little bit about interviewing. What are some common interviewing mistakes people make on video or phone calls or in person? 

[00:01:25] Kate Sargent: Oh, that’s a really great one. I mean, I think there’s so many. I mean, I’m sure every recruiter in the world has an embarrassing story. You know, in all scenarios, being unprepared is immediately evident and you’re not getting past that first five minutes. You might feel like you are. That interview may last 20 minutes, but you have not gotten past that first five minutes if you’re not prepared. If you haven’t done the research, that’s it. That’s the end of your interview, whether you think it is or not. Talking too much and talking too irrelevantly. Talking about things that are not important, rambling on, not having, like, a really clear focus for what you’re doing. I would say, for video calls, is there, like, a light behind you? Are you looking like you’re on Dateline and don’t want your face to be seen? Have you gotten your sound correct? Don’t underestimate the value of the person scheduling your interview. Were you actively communicating? Did you ask about the dress code? 

[00:02:23] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:02:23] Kate Sargent: Did you ask about the type of environment? Did you ask about the type of interview? So I would say that’s a common blunder. Is this a, you know, technical/functional skills interview? Or is this a behavioral interview? Is this a casual coffee chat interview? So, like, being prepared for what type of interview you’re going into. This is the one that drives me nuts: when you get on the phone with someone, and they are clearly reading off of a script. When they are reading their experience like they read it from their resume — that, to me, is an initial red flag. I know there’s a lot of people, you know, neurodivergent folks, maybe, like, that’s an easier way for them to communicate. I know that interviewing is a skill that makes everybody very panicked, but I also think you need to practice if you’re going to do that. Or I’ve also been in interviews where people have mentioned it. 

[00:03:13] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. You can write everything out starting out, but then turn those into bullet points and then practice it, right? So. 

[00:03:20] Kate Sargent: Mm-Hmm. And then, in person, there’s tons of information about tips and tricks out there of, like, how to walk into an in-person interview. But, number one, to me, is did you understand the assignment in terms of dress code? Did you show up early, but not too early? Don’t wear offensive scents. That’s a really important one too. I know that it sounds like a really silly thing, but the amount of times I’ve heard from a hiring manager– you are usually trapped in a conference room with a human, do not wear intense perfume–

[00:03:51] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:03:51] Kate Sargent: –in your interview, because it really does turn people off. Think about having water already with you. Pen and a notebook so that you look engaged.

[00:04:01] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:04:01] Kate Sargent: And you don’t have to take notes necessarily. 

[00:04:04] Roy Notowitz: Right. 

[00:04:04] Kate Sargent: But just having a pen and paper for, like, anything that you do want to take notes of. I would say it also can help you if you get lost in a question sometimes and, you know, kind of refocus yourself. And then I would say don’t do anything high intensity right before your interview. Right? Don’t do anything that’s got you all hyped up, or nervous, or anything. I think breathing, calming, centering, and repeating your bullet points in your head beforehand is really helpful. 

[00:04:32] Roy Notowitz: Right. I always tell people to Google, you know, “Top 25 Interviewing Questions” and practice those. Just knowing: why are you interested in this company in particular? How does your experience fit with the job? Tell me about yourself and bring that to life because I think being able to tell a story, giving somebody a visual and image of you in that role doing those things, is more memorable than just listing what the job bullet point is. 

[00:04:58] Kate Sargent: Which is a great plug for coaching, and when I say coaching, it’s not just me. Like, a coach could be your best friend also who sits through your answer to that question and goes, I lost you halfway through. 

[00:05:12] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:05:12] Kate Sargent: Try again. So, I think there’s a benefit to coaching and being prepared to answer those questions in advance. 

[00:05:19] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. You can’t practice enough. 

[00:05:21] Kate Sargent: I, I use, like, this is so old school, right? Like, the old behavioral interviewing, the S.T.A.R. system. Do you remember the S.T.A.R. system? 

[00:05:27] Roy Notowitz: Mm-Hmm. Situation. 

[00:05:29] Kate Sargent: Situation, task, action, results. I always talk about it being S.T.A.R.L. For me, it’s like situation, task, action, result, learnings, because the learnings are where you can convert those results into how I can pay this forward in your company. 

[00:05:46] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:05:46] Kate Sargent: I went blank– I remember one of my interviews with Allbirds, and I do this for a living. And I just completely lost my place. I hadn’t eaten anything that day. I was just, like, not in a great place, and I went blank in the middle of a question, and the only way for me to come back from it was I went through S.T.A.R. in my head. “Okay, I’m in action. I need to get to result quickly before he realizes that I just lost it.” I think it’s really good to have a device or something like that if you get lost in a conversation too, because it happens all the time. It’s not your fault. 

[00:06:17] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:06:17] Kate Sargent: Occasionally your brain just shorts out, and you just lose where you are. But having a tool or a tactic to go back to– 

[00:06:25] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:06:25] Kate Sargent: –and go, “Okay, where am I in this explanation? Oh gosh, I’ve gotten myself lost. I need to get back into this,” is really helpful. And then I would say, never underestimate taking a sip of water before answering a question and allowing yourself a minute to think.

[00:06:42] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. Give your brain a second. Take a breath before you answer. 

[00:06:46] Kate Sargent: Yes. 

[00:06:47] Roy Notowitz: One of the things too to remember is that you don’t have to share everything about everything that you’ve ever done. Really thinking about, before you go into the interview, “What are the three things I want this person to take away about my experience?” and making sure you prioritize those things. 

[00:07:04] Kate Sargent: Yes. Questions at the end of your interview are incredibly crucial for that. Right? Because, if you don’t get to talk about those three strengths in your conversation, the way you frame your questions at the end, for the recruiter, for the hiring manager, for the interviewer, is an opportunity for you to hit on those too. Or your response to their answer to that question. Always be thinking through your conversation how to get those out. 

[00:07:29] Roy Notowitz: That’s a good point. One of the things I’ve seen or heard from interviewers are that sometimes the person interviewing you is very skilled at interviewing, and they’re going to have their questions prepared, and they’re going to make sure they try to get to everything. And you have to make sure that you allow them to ask those questions and give them the ability to get through their list; however, there’s other interviewers that just talk about their company, or aren’t prepared, and they’re not asking good questions. And so, as the interviewee, you sort of have to take a little bit more control of that dialogue. And I think thinking through, “What are the questions that I have? Or that I want to ask?” — maybe two or three at the most — but what would be most impactful? What are the things that you would want to know? Let’s say if you were starting that job in the first week? What are the things that you would want to dig into? It’s really important to have them at the Ready. 

[00:08:21] Kate Sargent: Well, and I think it depends on where you are in the process of interviewing too, right? Like, that first interview that you do initially, get as much information as possible, right? Yes, it’s your time to shine, and it’s your time to talk about yourself, but the more you can get your recruiter talking and giving you hints, and tips, and information about the people that you’re going to be talking to through the process, following their lead, their vibe, their feeling, kind of understanding that. You have to be vigilant in an interview too, and I don’t want to make it sound intense, but it is. Listen to everything that they’re saying in those questions. Every question has more to it. There’s, like, seven layers to every question that you’re being asked. 

[00:09:02] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. They’re not just wanting the answer, they want to know– 

[00:09:04] Kate Sargent: Yes.

[00:09:05] Roy Notowitz: –how you think. 

[00:09:06] Kate Sargent: Right. 

[00:09:06] Roy Notowitz: How you collaborate, communicate, how you deal with challenges. 

[00:09:11] Kate Sargent: I feel like it sounds like we’re trying to trick you, right? I don’t mean it that way, it’s just that every answer you give has multiple layers of how they’re going to interpret information about you. The first part of an interview, and even your whole first interview, is how do you interpret me? I’m going to teach you how to interpret me, my experience, and how you can use this and apply this to your world. You have to think about it like that, that you are teaching that person how to interpret you and your experience so that everything you say is taken in the way that you want it to, versus interpreted in a way that they’ve decided to interpret it. And I think that’s, like, such a really important part about, like, how you center it. And the way to do that is to listen a lot, is to read the room on some level, but recruiters want to get you hired too, right? They are wanting you to be the right fit. They want to help you get to that next level. We don’t want to have to talk to 17 more people if you could be the one. So help us, help you. Help us get you to that next level, but also understanding that usually there’s some sort of panel, right? Or multiple people that you’re going to be talking to towards the end of an interview process. Most of those people are not directly understanding, as a hiring manager or as a direct same job, they don’t work in that department or they don’t work in your direct line. They are great for information. Gather the information. They are going to be your peers. Ask them about the department. So, to me, every interview you do, you should be better. Each one, you move forward. You gather more information on each one, you bring it up in your next conversation. You address it in the next conversation with the person who’s after that if there’s a question about your background or whatever it is. Those people — I think the ancillary people, the folks that are like your coworkers, or collaborators, or whatever — are the best to pump for information. So– 

[00:11:07] Roy Notowitz: Right.

[00:11:07] Kate Sargent: –in terms of how you structure your conversations, I think those conversations should be more questions. 

[00:11:14] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:11:14] Kate Sargent: More trying to understand. 

[00:11:17] Roy Notowitz: Like, if you’re talking to a cross-functional partner, you’re asking questions like, “What’s worked for you in the past in terms of how you’ve partnered with marketing” or whatever it is, you know, “What kind of partnership are you looking for” and how do you like to work?”

[00:11:28] Kate Sargent: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:11:28] Roy Notowitz: I think it’s really important to do a ton of homework and research, not just on the company or their clients, but their competitors, any press that’s been written about them, trade shows or events they might be involved in or industry associations, and really digging deep to see what you can learn about their values, and their culture, and their business. You don’t have to, like, show that you know everything about their business, but, if you had one or two things that show that you kind of dug a little bit — I mean, research all the people you’re going to be meeting with, and make sure that you remember and understand their background and experience because you can draw upon that in the interview and weave those things in to show that you’ve done your homework.

[00:12:08] Kate Sargent: It’s, again, another thing where we know right away on some level, so I have a couple of examples of that actually. So, when I worked at Method, the soap company, and then also Allbirds, both of those had founders who had been on How I Built This, and it was the quickest way to my heart, let’s just say.

[00:12:29] Roy Notowitz: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:12:30] Kate Sargent: If you brought up having either read a transcript, or listened to it, or whatever it was, and I was like, “Okay, we’re in the game here. You know who we are. You know about our culture,” because both of those companies were B Corps, and both of those companies had founders that were incredibly passionate about the sustainability work that they were doing. That was the quickest way for me to understand, “Okay, now I know who you are, and that you know what we do, and we can move on.” Industry-specific. Department-specific. The type of things that you would need to have an awareness of are really important. But also, it’s, it’s a camaraderie thing too in mission-driven companies, if you’ve done your research. And most of my background I feel like really aligns with sustainability, fair trade people, social impact– 

[00:13:20] Roy Notowitz: Right.

[00:13:20] Kate Sargent: –even within the retail world. And people who would bring that up in their conversations, versus just like the business work that we’ve done, it’s an instant personal connection. Because, usually– 

[00:13:30] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:13:31] Kate Sargent: –when you work within a mission-driven company, you’re there for a reason. It’s not usually because they pay more than everybody else, it’s generally because you care about what they’re all about, and that’s a great way to connect with your recruiter too. 

[00:13:44] Roy Notowitz: That’s really interesting because I think also that comes out in terms of learning agility. When a company, or a recruiter, or an interviewer is asking what podcasts, or what journals, or books you’ve read, if you don’t have an answer to that question, it shows maybe that you’re not the kind of person that seeks information in that way. But I definitely think that’s a question that you should think about and have some answers to. 

[00:14:09] Kate Sargent: I totally agree with that, honestly, because I’ve been tripped up by a question like that before too. Like, I didn’t have experience in the home goods industry, and I sort of thought that retail was retail. You know, I’d worked in cosmetics, and I’d worked in outdoor at the North Face, and you know, I’d worked in shoes, and soap, and I was like, “Retail was retail on some level,” but the nuance of home goods was really intense. It’s a really different kind of experience. And I’ve learned that, so sometimes you don’t have that knowledge going into an interview process, but, to your point of, “What are you interested in? What are you doing? What books? What podcasts?” whatever– 

[00:14:44] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:14:45] Kate Sargent: There’s an inherent bias to that on some level too, right? 

[00:14:48] Roy Notowitz: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:14:48] Kate Sargent: Because there’s access to information, there’s what spaces you’ve lived in, how much time you have. A single person might have a lot more time. 

[00:14:56] Roy Notowitz: Right. 

[00:14:56] Kate Sargent: I know I sure did when I was, you know, single and did not have children. I was– 

[00:15:00] Roy Notowitz: Yeah, true. 

[00:15:00] Kate Sargent: –reading all the time. Now it’s like I have to really take the time to carve that out, to do that. So there’s an inherent bias in that question too, but I think how you answer it is tremendously important because you could say something like that too. It could be like, you know, “Lately I haven’t been really deep in the whatever sector of things, but I have been really deep in learning sourdough starters,” right? That’s, my current passion is sourdough starters. But, like, I’ve been really digging into this personal hobby of mine, and that’s what I’ve been focusing a lot of my experience on. But talk about learnings you had previously, or talk about when you did have the time to do that. What were the things that were really important to you? Or, forward looking, “Hey, I’ve got this book sitting on my desk right now called whatever it is, and I am about to crack into that because what I’m interested in is radical candor,” right? And, you know, “I haven’t cracked it open yet, but that’s my next read.” There’s always a way to get around those questions without appearing like you’re ignorant or uninterested. 

[00:15:58] Roy Notowitz: Yeah, keep it real. Being able to speak to weaknesses is something that we talked about as well. That always comes up. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses? Right? Which is a tough question.

[00:16:10] Kate Sargent: Yes. 

[00:16:10] Roy Notowitz: Do you have any advice on how to speak to weaknesses and keep it real? 

[00:16:16] Kate Sargent: Oh, I’m such a weirdo on this question, Roy. I love the weaknesses question. I love it from both sides. I love when people ask it to me, and I love asking it to other people. And I would also say: caution ahead because people ask that question, and you don’t even know that’s what they’re asking sometimes.

[00:16:33] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:16:33] Kate Sargent: Like, there’s a lot of different formats of “what are your weaknesses?” whether we want to call it that or not. Always be on alert. In most interview processes, you will be asked that question at some point, and it’s one of the most important answers you give. I’ll speak from my own personal philosophy. Other people have different thoughts on this. I actually wrote a LinkedIn post about the vulnerability of interviewing and how this is the most vulnerable question. We’re like, “Please tell us the worst thing about you. I just met you. Tell me the thing that you’re really bad at.” 

[00:17:03] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:17:03] Kate Sargent: It’s an opportunity, right? Please don’t tell me that you are a perfectionist because I am just going to roll my eyes and move along. That question is a really important question too for you to understand, and for your recruiter or your hiring manager to understand, whether you are right for this role. Are you going to be happy– 

[00:17:22] Roy Notowitz: Yeah.

[00:17:22] Kate Sargent: –in this role? Not even if you’re going to be successful. Are you going to be happy? Is this the type of work that you want to do? Or, like, if you have a weakness that doesn’t fit in with this world, how do we counteract that? Or what are the things we do to support you in that? So, I am a huge fan of honestly answering that question. What I do as a recruiter — and if there’s, you know, recruiters out here listening, I will tell you this is one of my best ways to build trust and one of the best ways to get someone to answer this question honestly — is to give yours first. And I have been doing that for years and years, and it’s been a great way to break the ice. It’s like, if I’m asking you these incredible, personal questions, I’m going to share mine first. So what I usually do in that conversation, I tell people my weaknesses is administrative work. It’s not a fun thing to admit, like, attention to detail and administrative work is 1000% my biggest problem. I am great with the big ideas. I am great with facilitating projects. I’m great with a lot of things, but I am not great at, “Did I miss that one thing in that communication?” or whatever it is. And so, I’ll lead with that. I’ll be like, “Let me share mine first.” Now, I would say, if it’s you, this is your opportunity in an interview question to be confident in your weaknesses. If you do it in shame, or you try to gloss over it, we notice. So, to me, I want to hear from somebody like the way that I do it, which is, “I am great at a lot of things, administrative work is not one of them.” What I’ve done to counteract that is your next comment. This is your opportunity to brag about yourself on some level. But first you have to admit the thing outright that is truly your weakness. 

[00:19:01] Roy Notowitz: Right. 

[00:19:01] Kate Sargent: And I’m really passionate about that. That you don’t fake it. 

[00:19:04] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. I think one thing, especially at the leadership level, right? A lot of times, jobs that, at least that we’re recruiting for, the leadership ability is above everything else, right? So– 

[00:19:15] Kate Sargent: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:19:16] Roy Notowitz: –we’re looking for people who are students of leadership and who are self-aware and objective. 

[00:19:21] Kate Sargent: Yes. 

[00:19:22] Roy Notowitz: And who have done some deep thinking in that area, or have done some deep thinking about their team and the leadership within their team and how they bring people along. And so, we get a lot of canned responses on leadership, but, I think taking some time to really look at your past Hogans or, you know, think about your leadership strengths and weaknesses, and how you lead and develop and coach people, and how you operate within an organization is really huge. And, the other thing I, I would say is you don’t have to have all the answers to everything. I believe people more when they’re being straight up with me. You don’t have to be the perfect candidate and there’s no such thing. 

[00:20:04] Kate Sargent: I would a thousand percent agree with what you’re saying there. And I also feel like one of the ways that I diffuse that question as someone who is being interviewed is almost to say, “Oh, it’s the weakness question.” 

[00:20:17] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:20:17] Kate Sargent: Right? Depending on, like, your level of communication with this recruiter, but I’ll be like, “I know a lot of people don’t answer this question,” so that you can point out that you are different from that group and that you are willing to be vulnerable. 

[00:20:29] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:20:29] Kate Sargent: And I have even said the words self-awareness. I try to have as much self-awareness and you know, really listen to feedback as much as possible, and I know that this is the thing that I will always have to work on, and here’s how I’ve done that. Because then that shows learning, it shows self-awareness, it shows that you recognize that the question is here and that you’re not going to shy away from it. So it sort of diffuses whatever your answer is that comes after that.

[00:20:56] Roy Notowitz: Coming across as authentic– 

[00:20:58] Kate Sargent: Mm-hmm. 

[00:20:59] Roy Notowitz: –is so important. And we also are looking for things like passion, positivity, your ability to connect your values and purpose to the mission of our organization. Those are the things that are underlying sort of filters, so if you’re being negative about something, we’re picking up on that negativity.

[00:21:18] Kate Sargent: Yes. 

[00:21:19] Roy Notowitz: Or, if you’re not passionate about your work, like, we’re going to notice that. 

[00:21:23] Kate Sargent: If you sidestep a question very clearly, we usually know that too. So, Roy, one of the things that you pointed out was leadership and strategy. One of the things that I see the most in coaching is that people tend to get in the weeds when asked about, “What will you do in this role?” Particularly, I’m dealing with a lot of people in startups. “You come in at the director level, you come in at the VP level. What do you do first?” Or like, “How do you build this out?” And people go instantly, particularly more junior people that are reaching for a job will go tactical right away. Bullets, tactical, these are the things I’m going to do. And I would say it’s a huge mistake. The first thing that you want to do when asked that question or asked about, like, your background or whatever, is show awareness of the broader picture. So, instead of going deep into, “I’ll do this, I’ll do this, I’ll do this.” You could say, “When looking at the greater organization, I sit here, my team sits here. These are the priorities. This is how I would focus my energy,” and allow the person who’s asking you the question to ask for the tactics if they want them, right? But sometimes they really don’t. They just want to understand that, you know how you plug into a greater org, you plug into a greater result structure–

[00:22:42] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:22:42] Kate Sargent: –and build things out. 

[00:22:43] Roy Notowitz: And knowing what types of things you gravitate towards and can be hands-on with. There’s a lot of CMOs we talk to that aren’t really the performance/marketing/analytical people, right? They’re more of the brand and the creative and marketing. Usually it’s a team, right? The team that you build and that’s around you is what’s important, and you don’t necessarily have to check all the boxes.

[00:23:06] Kate Sargent: And, like, do you want to on some level too, right? Because like, if your understanding of this role is that it needs all of those things that you don’t have, you’re interviewing them just as much for this role as they’re interviewing you. 

[00:23:19] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. I think that’s a really good point. Making sure it’s a good fit for yourself as well. What are their values? What is their culture? Do you feel a connection to their purpose? Are you going to be set up for success based on how they’re structured and organized? That’s really huge, and I think candidates sometimes think about getting the job instead of evaluating the opportunity and filtering that through the things that they think are going to help them thrive in terms of what job they’re in next. 

[00:23:46] Kate Sargent: Or being the perfect fit for something that they really aren’t or, like, how to present themselves. I get a lot of that in coaching too, like, “How do I present myself as the perfect person for this job?” And it’s like, well, the first thing you need to figure out is if you actually are the perfect person for this job–

[00:24:00] Roy Notowitz: Right. 

[00:24:00] Kate Sargent: –rather than whether you’re going to be able to show that to somebody or like how to speak to things that are in your background. And I’ve pulled out of several interview processes over the years where I was like, “Oh no, I’m not your girl. This is not for me, but let me see who I have in my network.” But I do think realizing that in a conversation too. Is self-aware, it’s positive, it’s not wasting other people’s time through a process just to prove you could get that job. You can talk to recruiters frankly about that — hiring managers too. You can’t live in a space of being too desperate for a job that, like, when you get that job, if you have said you can do something and then you can’t, it’s so much worse– 

[00:24:42] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:24:42] Kate Sargent: –than being able to sort of self-select yourself out of the process and just go in a direction where you need to spend your energy. 

[00:24:51] Roy Notowitz: So job searching can be stressful. We just talked about all the different things that candidates need to keep in mind, and certainly it can be a frustrating process. So do you have any advice for how to stay positive, balanced, confident, resilient during this job search process? 

[00:25:08] Kate Sargent: I would say allow yourself to not feel positive, balanced, and confident and resilient sometimes. And just be okay with that too. Like, it is just a stressful process and have someone to talk to about it. You made a comment earlier that, like, your value doesn’t change the second that you get laid off. I think that’s a really key thing to remember. People get lost in their own workplace trauma, or, like, the experiences that they’ve had in previous roles where, like, they felt downtrodden and they felt not great about themselves. But I think having those first conversations in your networking, like, I mentioned this before, that first tier of connections who loves you, who cares about you, who, you know, wants great things for you, and reminds you of all the great things that you do. A coach would be great at this point in the process as well to remind you of all, like, how great you are and reframe back to you how great you actually are, I think is really important throughout the process. Even if you’re getting turned down. 

[00:26:06] Roy Notowitz: Right. 

[00:26:07] Kate Sargent: Being able to see the things that are fully in your control, and that you are controlling, and the things that are out of your control, being able to let them go. I can tell you right now, that is one of the hardest things for me. I struggle with that tremendously. So, easier said than done, but I think the more connections that you can make and the more times you could be reminded through this process that rejection is normal. Everybody is the right employee for the right role at the right time, somewhere. 

[00:26:35] Roy Notowitz: There’s a job for everybody. 

[00:26:36] Kate Sargent: Right? You just haven’t found it yet, right? And sometimes your travels are longer and awful. There is a point at which you will get past this. Also, just being realistic with your expectations upfront that it is going to be a marathon and not a sprint, most likely. And then being pleasantly surprised if it somehow does turn out to be a sprint.

[00:26:56] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:26:56] Kate Sargent: Okay and then my last piece of advice here, I’ve got so many, I can go for hours on this, but my last piece of advice is: being a good steward for other people when you are in a good space. Knowing that when you get over the hump that you’re going to remember how bad this was, right? On some level, you’re going to be like, “This was really terrible. I’m going to try and make sure that other people that reach out to me that are going through this, supporting them through the process, helping them get through the process.” 

[00:27:27] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. And I would say two other things. If you are currently employed, and looking for a job, and feeling like you’re not getting traction, sometimes it is because you just aren’t having enough time to focus on it. Also, being geographically limited is one of those variables that may or may not be an option for you, and so, just recognizing that it could take longer if you’re geographically limited. And then, if you’re feeling like you’re spinning or don’t know what to do, I think going back to that strategy and going back to that first step that we talked about throughout the process to make sure that you keep learning and getting better with each and every interview and outreach. 

[00:28:06] Kate Sargent: Reframe, and reframe, and reframe. Just keep going. Like, go back and be like, “Okay, maybe I need to refocus. Maybe I need to reframe. Maybe I need to figure out a different direction to go in.” 

[00:28:15] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:28:16] Kate Sargent: And that not being like you failed in one direction, but just that you found more success than another direction. 

[00:28:21] Roy Notowitz: It’s hard to feel like, “Where do I even start?”

[00:28:24] Kate Sargent: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:28:24] Roy Notowitz: Having already felt like they’ve exhausted all the different opportunities or leads, but every day is a new day and staying positive is an important thing. 

[00:28:35] Kate Sargent: Hiring is a cycle, and it’ll always come back around. 

[00:28:38] Roy Notowitz: True. I do think, again, having a coach or a friend as an accountabilibuddy or talking to other job seekers and being supportive, that’s very validating I’m sure as well, if you have an opportunity. 

[00:28:50] Kate Sargent: Yeah, there’s communities and groups that you can be a part of too with other people. I feel like LinkedIn has gotten deeper and deeper into that recently. I would say careful with complaining about it openly though, too. Make sure that you’re doing that in your own space. It is challenging. I never want to silence anyone, but I also feel like, you know, know your audience, know who you’re talking to when doing that as well. 

[00:29:10] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. I appreciate you being here. It’s been such a great conversation. I’m interested in what projects or exciting things you have in the works right now as you think about the future. 

[00:29:23] Kate Sargent: Well, thank you so much for having me here, because this has been so much fun, and I wish we could do this for another seven hours. I would love to talk about this all day long. You know, I am continuing to build my coaching business and the offerings that I am able to put out there for job seekers or people who are looking to sort of drive their career, lead their career in a different direction, and work within their current role as well. And, beyond that, you know, like, I’m just really excited to learn more about how we can use AI in the future. I’m excited to figure out how we can mainstream coaching so that everybody gets a coach out there and that that’s a perfectly normal thing to have. I’m hoping we can continue to demystify the job search, whether it’s me as a coach or outwardly, I’m doing some seminars in the near future on how to, you know, kind of get your LinkedIn profile into great shape. One of my biggest desires is to create a more level power balance where things don’t shift and swing so crazily. Like, I want recruiters to be great to candidates, and I want candidates to be great to recruiters, and, you know, when the power balance of the market shifts, we all need to just be kind to each other. 

[00:30:38] Roy Notowitz: Yes. 

[00:30:38] Kate Sargent: I mean, not to sound cheesy or kumbaya about all of it, but I do think that’s something I’m trying to bring out into the world into my coaching is, “Let me show you behind the scenes because there shouldn’t be a behind the scenes.” 

[00:30:50] Roy Notowitz: Yeah. 

[00:30:51] Kate Sargent: There should be just a way that we interact with each other that’s kind and helpful. And one of the other things I’m working on right now is coaching coaches. I have a lot of people in my network from some great nonprofits I work with that are wanting to spread the word and get coaching out there to the masses. My goal is to try and teach people what I’m doing so there’s a bunch of little coaches out there spreading that same energy and, and learning how to do that for each other. Whether they do it as a job, or whether they do it with their friend group, or their affinity group, or whoever it is. 

[00:31:23] Roy Notowitz: That’s great because there’s, there’s not a lot of good job search coaches out there. What’s the best way for someone to connect with you and learn more about your work? 

[00:31:33] Kate Sargent: You can reach out to me directly on LinkedIn. My email is listed directly on my profile, as well as the– 

[00:31:39] Roy Notowitz: Great. 

[00:31:39] Kate Sargent: –providing services section. And hint to anyone who is not providing services on LinkedIn and utilizing that segment of LinkedIn profile — get out there and get on there if you’re doing any sort of consulting. And then I also have a website, kjs.consulting, and, you know, hopefully you’ll be hearing about my seminars and the sessions that I’ll be running in the not too distant future. I’m, I’m looking for late spring for those. 

[00:32:02] Roy Notowitz: That’s great. Hopefully this is a tool or something useful to all the job seekers, whether you’re passive or active and in the market. It’s a little nutty out there and so if this provides some sort of guidance or support, then our mission has been accomplished. So thank you so much for sharing your experience and your wisdom in this area, and I’m sure we can have deeper conversations in a lot of these areas in the future as well.

[00:32:27] Kate Sargent: I hope so. This is so much fun. So thank you so much for having me, Roy. 

[00:32:33] Roy Notowitz: Thanks for tuning into this episode of How I Hire. Visit howihire.com for more details about the show. If you’d like us to create more podcasts on this topic, please leave us some feedback in the reviews. How I Hire is created by Noto Group Executive Search. To find out more about us, visit notogroup.com. This podcast was produced by AO McClain, LLC. To learn more about their work, visit aomcclain.com