Are You the Challenger or the Title-Holder?

Aug 24, 2011 by

Are You the Challenger or the Title-Holder?

Anyone remember David Haye?

Haye was a world-class champ boxer and the WBA world title-holder until July this year when he flopped to an embarrassing defeat by Wladimir Klitschko in their big unification fight in Hamburg, Germany.

It was a blue-ribbon event years in the making, the sort of opportunity that doesn’t come around so often in a professional boxing career.

Haye had all the time in the world to prepare.

He could have won.

But he blew it.

Don’t put your career on the ropes.

Haye was in his prime, the top man in his particular line of work, and bettered by an opponent in a professional bout only once before he met Klitschko.

Haye just didn’t believe he could ever be beaten.

He told everybody else the same.

He had been telling them so for years.

So he cut a sorry figure when defeat came. 

The verdict?

David had gotten complacent, they said.

He’d ignored the experiences of all those boxers who had fought Klitschko in the years before, all those able boxers who’d had emerged dazed and confused from bouts with the Ukrainian to declare that they hadn’t encountered an opponent quite like it before.

He had failed to respect his opponent, or take into account the fact that somebody out there could be better than him.

The generally held view is that his preparation for the fight – and his career – had suffered because of it.  

Did you get dumped out of the ring?

Losing a job can feel as painful and disorientating as getting clobbered by one of David’s ‘Haye-makers’.

All the more so if you never saw it coming.

And even worse if you thought yourself so well-qualified that nobody else could ever beat you in the jobs race.

Don’t believe “That’ll just never happen to me”  

The JobCentre just isn’t the place it used to be. Last week I heard one job-seeker tell how you are more and more likely to encounter unemployed MDs and senior executives signing on there.

And I bet there are many high-flying MDs and senior executives out there right now who have been reading this and the latest jobless stats in the news, and are thinking “That’ll just never happen to me.”

But it did happen to Haye.

And just like Haye, many high-flying job-hunters are leaving themselves open to getting floored by their redundancy notice or rejection letters by failing to realise that there are lots of worthy challengers out there all wanting a job.

And they’re hungry.

Perfect preparation prevents poor performance.  

Would Haye have won his big fight had he trained more?

There’s no guarantee, but he would have given himself more than a fighting chance had he entered the ring better prepared.

5 tips to help you in a round of interviews:

#1 Beware complacency.

If you have been put on notice and asked to re-apply for a job you’ve been doing for the last 20 years and could for another 20 with your hands tied behind your back, don’t assume you’ll be the one that gets it.

You might well think there’s no justice in such a system, but the system is there, and it happens.

Remember that there are lots of great people out there wanting jobs and well able to demonstrate to your boss how they could do yours.

#2 Keep in training.

Contrary to popular belief, not all recruiting managers demand candidates have the paper qualifications to prove they can do the job, but more and more companies are going down that route to help them filter vast numbers of job applications.

Other companies don’t get hung up on qualifications but increasingly look for your ability to plug any gaps in your skill set with training once you join them.

Buy into continuous learning and professional development and you will increase your chance of satisfying both types of employer – either by gaining those all important bits of paper or demonstrating that you are somebody who has the ability and drive to pick up new skills.

#2 Keep in mind what you want and why.

#3 Know your weaknesses and how to counter them.

Haye just didn’t seem to have much of a reply to his towering opponent’s left jab.

Further into the fight, it looked as though he’d worked out how to overcome it, but it was too little, too late.

Recruitment is an expensive investment, no candidate is perfect, and employers increasingly want to explore your weaknesses at interview to help them weigh up the risks of hiring you.

Waiting until interview time to properly consider your weak points and how you might overcome them will only lead to embarrassment.

#4 Don’t beat yourself up if you lose.  

You might not win job first time around.

Or the second.

Or the tenth.

The confidence of high-flying job-hunters can shrink upon defeat the first time they experience it, let alone the tenth, and create a self-perpetuating problem.

But there are 2.5 people out there looking for work and lots of star performers in amongst them.

If they’re getting jobs ahead of you, it’s probably because they’re more persistent and using a better strategy, not necessarily because they’re better than you.

#5 Don’t make excuses.

Several days after the fight with Klitschko, Haye released a statement citing a broken toe as the reason for his defeat.

But few believed that such a high-profile event would have gone ahead had he not been 100% for the fight.

Failure to confront reality will stop you doing what is necessary to achieve your goals, and for job-hunters, that could mean an unnecessarily prolonged period of joblessness.

What do you think?

If you’re open to sharing your experiences and thoughts, or want to share what you’ve learnt with other job-hunters, why not get in touch or post your thoughts in the comments box below?

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