The other day a friend of mine asked me some advice about jobs in the financial industry. Without even thinking, I started straight away with some advice: “you need to contact these people in the industry and maybe you have other recruiters, but the market is tough…”. But after a while I realised that I was giving him only “technical” advice, I did not take a step back and ask the basic questions: where, when, why, How…And as soon as I asked him about his projects, he replied that he was not planning to change of company. In fact this question made him realise that, he did not want to leave his company right now (especially as the market is bad).

So what Happened?

When, as a career consultant, you have a very good knowledge of an industry, it can be a problem. First you tend to skip the first basic round of questions, and doing so you run the risk of forgetting the needs of your client. You jump directly onto the solutions.

Why do you jump onto the solutions?

1) As you know the industry, you may have some good ideas

2) Your client craves for solutions and not for too much challenge

3) It is much easier for the career consultant to enter into a solution driven guidance

So, you don’t challenge your client, you diminish his level of anxiety by giving him solutions, you feel great as a career consultant who gives ready made solutions (which actually can be very good). But you forget to ask the right questions.

It is a short term solution.

The best career guidance I ever gave was with a client whom I did not know at all the industry. I challenged him on his project, helped him to create a proper strategy and develop adapted job search strategies. I did not waste time on giving him solutions but focused on helping him to create his own answers relying on his desire/needs.

Obviously the title of my article is slightly provocative but it is a trap in which we (career consultants) can fall easily.

So why career consultants should know NOTHING about your industry:

1) easier for them to focus on your real needs

2) they won’t get into ready made solutions that can be very short term answers to your situation

3) they won’t forget that career guidance is also about challenging their client thoughts and projects

4) they will focus on adequate job search strategies instead of giving too much “direct” information (companies, names, market) and turning their career coaching into a conversation between two specialists

So a career consultant should be aware of the dangers of knowing “too much” or having too much expertise in a certain industry.

For those seeking for career and job advice, be aware that your consultant does not need to be an expert in your field…

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.