HIRED LEARNING: Barbara Evanchik – Persistence Pays Off

By Barbara Evanchik

After approximately nine and a half months in transition, I landed a job as a Talent Acquisition Manager – College Program at QBE, an Australian insurance company, whose North America headquarters are in New York. I started at the beginning of September.

Maximizing outcomes in my search:

I did it all: I applied online; met people for one- on-one networking; attended group networking meetings; and contacted headhunters. I was also contacted by recruiters who saw my LinkedIn profile. The one thing I needed to do more of, was one-on-one meetings whether in person or on the phone.

Experience with online job boards:

From what I have learned about the job search process, I know that my experience with online applications is not the norm. I was contacted several times based on my online applications and received interviews. I also was able to network into an organization and get an interview.

Networking with individuals:

My goal for individual networking was to gain information on: transitioning; specific topics as they related to a target organization; and to ensure that people thought of me if an opportunity became available. I was very impressed with the generosity that people showed me.

One lesson I learned is to be open to everything and talk to everybody. I found the HR networking group through an acquaintance who was reintroduced to me by a former colleague who had previously gone through a transition. Not only did she direct me to this group, she mentioned me to people she knew who were looking to hire.

Networking groups:

Through networking groups, I learned about best practices; met great people who also shared their experiences; and got job leads. This is how I learned about my current job.

Headhunters:

I didn’t do much with headhunters; I was referred to the majority that I spoke with. Nothing ever happened with them. I figured it didn’t hurt if they had my resume but I never really had any expectations about results.

Hiring Process:

The hiring process was straightforward. The day after I sent an email expressing interest in the position, I was contacted by HR who arranged four thirty-minute interviews (people who were not located in the metro New York area). I sent thank-you notes immediately, referencing the conversation we had and how I would add value to their process. When I didn’t hear anything after two-and-a-half weeks, I sent each of them another email reiterating the original conversation but trying to add something new. I also sent an email to the recruiter who emailed me back saying the feedback was positive. He then arranged an in-person interview with the hiring manager. The first question she asked was how I would approach the job. When I was preparing for the interview, I outlined that I wanted to communicate my process. That was a great way to start the conversation. I was contacted pretty quickly with two more thirty-minute interviews from people on the business side where I was able to identify with what they wanted to accomplish and how I could contribute. Just over a week later, I had an offer. The whole process took just under two months.

PSGCNJ support:

I was about halfway through this process when I started attending PSGCNJ meetings. I was inspired by the success stories whether they resulted in a landing or just a positive outcome. Thoughts I had about the job search were validated. I took different things away from each speaker and I met a lot of great people.

Advice for job hunters:

It’s no secret that transition is tough. I did whatever I thought it took to put myself in the best possible position. At times, that meant doing things that I may not have wanted to do like going to another networking meeting, asking strangers to take time to speak to me, and searching job boards day after day. In the end, I was always glad I did because I inevitably learned something about myself or gained some piece of information that helped me in the end. For me, this was a cumulative process of all the lessons I learned along the way and it all finally came together.

My advice is to be persistent, be confident, be prepared, stay positive and learn something from each experience.

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