Stop Trying to Control the Outcome – The Negotiator Job Search

July 24, 2015
Control the Outcome

controlRemember—you are not in control when you are in a job search!


You do not control:



  • When companies create new positions
  • When positions open up due to a person leaving
  • How fast a company proceeds in the hiring process
  • Whether a recruiter or hiring manager gives you feedback

You are not in control!


The purpose of this post is to discuss what you can control.


In Jim Camp’s book, Start with NO…The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, he writes:


Just as with mission and purpose, I believe in these tools but call for a different approach from the usual one. My clients do not set sales targets, quotas, numbers, percentages. Never. Instead, they set goals they can control.


What Can We Control?


Think about the above question. Most of you will come to the conclusion that the answer is “ourselves.” That is only partially true.


What can we control?


Again Camp writes:


Can we manage our heart rate, for example? I’ve read that certain monks of a high caliber can do so, but most of us cannot. Can we control our anger following an insult? Not really, not the emotion itself. Time? Can we control time? Well, we can’t alter the fact that there are only twenty-four hours in a day to work with, and some of these will be “lost” to sleep, but we can control what we do during waking hours and how we do it. By this progression we arrive at the real answer to what we can control about ourselves: behavior and activity, or as I sometimes put it, an action or effort to an end.


The only thing we can control is our own behavior and activity!


Common Actions You Can Control


I wrote in a recent post titled Waiting is not a Job Search Strategy to:



  • Create a target list of companies that are capable of hiring you
  • Reach out to hiring managers and recruiters and tell them of your value proposition
  • Ask for contact information of the interviewer at the beginning of every phone or in-person interview
  • Follow up and follow up and follow up after every step of the process.

What other things can you control:



  • Writing a keyword-focused LinkedIn profile
  • Have a resume with accomplishments clearly defined by ARM statements (Accomplishment, Results, Metrics)
  • Have business cards ready for a networking event

Letting Go of What We Cannot Control


During a period in the 1990s, I was traveling once or twice a month on business. There was a period that lasted more than two years during which something went wrong on every trip. For example: weather, equipment failures, heart attack of a passenger on the plane that diverted the flight, a jet bridge collapsing, and many more. What I learned was that I was not in control.


One morning, I was flying to Atlanta to talk to a Linux users group in the evening. I was a geek who could speak! The sales team wanted me to speak to a major customer in the early afternoon while I was there. I arrived in Dallas from Austin and it was obvious that I would not get to Atlanta in time to speak to this customer.


Previously, I would have worried about being late. I would have worried about disappointing the sales team. Instead, I called my contact from the airport and left him a message that I was not going to get there in time. The weather in Atlanta would not cooperate. There was no way to get there in time.


I did not control the weather in Atlanta!


Focus on what you can control in your job search!


What are you going to let go of controlling?

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