A 2020 Interview with Lauren Herring, CEO of The IMPACT Group
10 Emotions Job Seekers Must Master to Land the Job!
Lauren Herring is CEO of IMPACT Group, the largest woman-owned career coaching company supporting over 200 Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Over the past 30 years, IMPACT Group has successfully helped hundreds of thousands of people find jobs. Additionally, Lauren has donated IMPACT Group’s services to thousands of individuals in underserved communities, helping them to find jobs, dignity and economic independence. She has received the Game Changer Award by Workforce Magazine and has been published or quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fast Company. Lauren’s passion for making a positive impact led her to write Take Control of Your Job Search! as well as her previous book, This Side Up! When not running her business, Lauren can be found running the streets of St. Louis while training for a triathlon or spending time with her husband, Ted, and two young children.
Christine: Lauren, tell me more about what you do for a living and why you love your job.
Lauren: As you mentioned, I’m CEO of IMPACT group, we’re a global career development company. We help people find jobs, career coaching, which is a proven way to have a faster landing, we have over 200 coaches at IMPACT group globally. And we specialize in helping people find jobs after they’ve been laid off. After they’ve moved because of a corporate relocation, we have the spouse find a job. And then we also do leadership development, especially in the women in leadership space.
I love this work so much, because it aligns with my personal mission, which is to make a positive impact on the lives that I touch. And I get to do this every day because we help people find jobs. And there’s almost no other way to help someone in gaining dignity and self-respect and passion for life, as in the work that we do by helping people find jobs. And on a personal level, I’m passionate about life in general. You mentioned my husband, Ted, I also have two children, Kennedy and Luca. And Luca is just four months old.
Christine: Speaking of the job search, congratulations on your latest book, which is called Take Control of Your Job Search: 10 Emotions You Must Master to Land the Job. And I say latest because this is your second book, as we learned a few moments ago, you’re such a prolific author. So before we get into the new book, can you share with my listeners about your first book This Side Up! A Simple Guide to Your Successful Relocation. What inspired you to write this and who is it for?
Lauren: Sure. Well, as I mentioned, one of the things that we do is help people find jobs after they’ve relocated to a new city. And at IMPACT we have a unique approach to thinking about relocation in a very holistic way because it is a life transition. Just because you’re moving from A to B doesn’t mean that it’s that easy to pick up your life and reestablish it someplace. With This Side Up! imagine you’re at the local coffee shop with your best friend who’s been there done that 100 times with relocation. That’s what I tried to create in this book. There are some simple guides and worksheets and things to think about just to make the whole process a little smoother and help you recreate a life that you’re going to love in a new area. We’ve been able to take 20-30 years of the experience of our many, many coaches at IMPACT group and pull that into both books.
Christine: Collaborative knowledge is a very good thing. Your latest book helps job seekers master the 10 emotions they need to take control of their job search and land the job. Obviously, such an important topic now. How did this book come about?
Lauren: Well, after my last book on relocation, I knew that I had another book in me, and I wanted it to be on job search. But there are so many books out there on the job search process, that I really wanted to have an angle that was unique, and that would make an impact. Because the world doesn’t need just another job search book. It was in the product development process at IMPACT group, when we were really looking at what is necessary in a contemporary job search these days. It became so clear in really digging into best practices in job search, that dealing with the emotional aspect of the ups and downs of the job search is critical. There’s no other job search book, really out there that effectively deals with this topic. But it’s so needed. When I put those pieces together, it became crystal clear that this is the book that I should write, and really a book that’s needed out there by people that are looking for jobs.
Christine: What was the pandemic impact on your book, especially in terms of how valuable it is to job seekers?
Lauren: Well, it’s interesting, because job search is always stressful. So that part doesn’t change except it’s probably more stressful than ever right now. Because not only are people concerned about finding a job and making ends meet financially, but there’s also life and death health concerns that are put into the mix. There’s an added layer of anxiety. The economy has been affected tremendously by this, so there’s increased competition for jobs.
That really makes it all the more important for people to have the confidence to stand out in their search, to be focused on networking, to know exactly who they are, and focus on their brand, which I know you’re very passionate about, as well, Christine, with a focus on branding. And that’s critical in a job search. Because when things are down, and, especially in times like this, it’s easy to get down in a job search. It’s important to go back to who you are at your best. Your personal brand, is an example of something that can help people tap into what makes them great, and it can help build confidence. Right now confidence is absolutely necessary. That is critical in this time with job search.
The other piece is no matter how you’re feeling in the job search, whether it’s frustrated or lonely, or maybe you’re in a really good place, there is an emotion that you can flip to in the book – how you’re feeling that day and get some inspiration for some things that you can do to help move you forward.
Christine: What is the the role of your book and the emotions it highlights, for people who really had no intention of suddenly being in the position at this point in their lives, of looking for a job?
Lauren: In the book I divided the job search emotions between the emotions of loss, emotions that paralyze, and emotions that move you forward. The people you’re talking about are probably shocked that they find themselves in this situation, and initially could be feeling emotions of loss. This could be sadness over a loss of a plan for the future or sadness over the fact that they were just coming up on retirement from a particular company. Now they have to start all over at a new company before they can retire. Or it could be a loss of a sense of community. There are all sorts of emotions that pop up, especially if you’re not anticipating looking for a job.
This book has specific tactics on how to address these situations, a lot of which is to allow yourself to feel that emotion. Just because you’re out of work doesn’t mean that immediately on the first day, you need to go out and start working on your resume and getting your network 100% in place. Yes, it’s important to move those steps forward. But in some cases, it’s really critical to take a little bit of time to let yourself feel some of that loss, sadness, shock, or even anger.
Christine: Can you pick one of the emotions to talk about and give us a quick tip for job seekers about something they can do to help them work through that emotion now?
Lauren: The one I’ll hit on here is fear. Especially right now, in the world of COVID-19, there’s a lot of fear in our culture, certainly even more so than usual in job search, whether it’s health concerns around the pandemic, or the amount of competition out there.
Here’s a story that helped me to see the need for this book. I met a man who was looking for a job, he was an executive and we were networking. While we were having this conversation about what he was looking for, he proceeded to show me spreadsheet after spreadsheet after PowerPoint after brochure. He had everything in his job search lined out to such a T, that it was overwhelming for me on the other end of this networking meeting, to try and see, okay, who is this person? And how can I help him? What I realized is that fear was driving his search. It was manifesting in manic action, like, the more the better, let me just pile on all this stuff. That’s one way that fear can show up. It can also just stop you in your tracks and completely paralyze you in a fight or flight response. Both of these different scenarios are on each end of the spectrum.
In the book, I have various exercises to give you permission to feel that fear and anxiety. If you’re afraid of interviewing, for example, how to make sure that you have opportunities to practice interviewing. If you’re afraid of it, that’s an opportunity for you to lean into that fear. Practice it, practice it, practice it, so that you can start to anticipate some of those questions. Have your game plan ready, practice on Zoom, practice in person, if possible, in this social distancing world.
My personal favorite tactic around fear is to imagine what’s the worst thing that can happen about being jobless right now. Maye it’s that you won’t find a job for a year or more. So then that helps you work backwards. You can say, well, what would happen if I didn’t find a job after a year? Then you can start to actually put some plans in place to prepare whether it’s financially, or from a reputational standpoint. You can ask yourself, what are the conversations that you need to be having with your family, so that even if the worst does happen, you’re prepared for it. You can also put pieces in place if it doesn’t happen.
This is a tactic I’ve used in other situations besides in job search. It has been tremendously useful in helping me take down this giant thought of fear of terrible things happening. You can use this tactic to make it very specific, by asking, if X happens, could I live through it? Yes. Would I be okay? Yes. How can I avoid it? And that’s one example of a tactic I put in the book that is extremely productive.
Christine: That’s a great one. Because fear of the unknown can be absolutely paralyzing. I love this tactic because it takes fear of the unknown out of the equation. How can people get a copy of your boo Lauren?
Lauren: The book is available on Amazon, and in other retailers as well, as an eBook and paperback. I wanted to make sure that it’s affordable and accessible, especially for job seekers.