Managing Expectations: Kellie Gordon’s Job Search Success Story
Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers in Portland, and we want to share these stories with you to inspire you in your job search and to help us all better understand the local job market! In this job search success story, Kellie W. Gordon, Senior Recruitment Marketing Consultant for Northwest Permanente, shares how she learned to manage expectations during her job search and focus on her goal of working for a B Corp organization.
What do you do for a career?
I work in Marketing and Communications, Brand, and External Affairs for a physician-led multi-specialty medical group.
Who do you work for?
I work for Northwest Permanente.
How long did it take you to find this job?
I was actively seeking a full-time position for nearly a year.
How did you find your job?
I found my job on Mac’s List.
What resources did you use?
I used Mac’sList, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor. I also hired a career coach, Dalena Bradley, to help me polish my resume and prepare for panel interviews.
What tool or tactic helped the most?
I believe the blog and podcast content on Mac’s List, combined with the tips from Dalena Bradley, made the most difference in my search. It was important to me to work for a B Corp or a company that was at least acting like a B Corp, so as a fellow B Corp, Mac’s List was a key part of my job search.
What was the most difficult part of your job search?
The most challenging part of my search was the number of times I came very close to an offer, or so it seemed, but did not receive it. Three times, I interviewed with at least seven different managers or team members over eight to 12 weeks, and then I’d hear nothing after that “last interview.” I did a “take-home assignment” for a few positions that required several hours of my time. One of those assignments was creating a comms plan that I have since seen being executed by the company. That didn’t leave me with a positive impression of the organization. Especially since the position was still open when the plan I delivered was clearly being executed, and I didn’t hear any feedback about the plan or position afterward.
How did you overcome this challenge?
I overcame this challenge by trying to spin the news positively. I knew must perform reasonably well in interviews if I kept advancing in the process, even if I did not get the offer. And in the case of organizations that asked a lot of the candidates without offering feedback (like the comms plan), I didn’t want to work for a company like that anyway. It told me they probably take advantage of their employees as well. In the case of the organization that required eight interviews that spanned five months, I was left feeling that decision-making must be an issue there, or perhaps a manager’s fear of hiring the wrong candidate.
I’ve worked for organizations that lead with fear in the past, which wasn’t something I was willing to pursue any longer. So, I began to view the hiring process as the first true indication of culture – in which case this continued delay of decision-making was merely information. I also began to see the search as a numbers game. Each rejection or “ghosting” led me closer to the end goal. But it wasn’t always easy to remain optimistic, that’s for sure.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
Manage expectations. Expect that the search will require more effort than sending out a few resumes and waiting for responses. Always write a cover letter, even when it is “optional” – especially if the position is a comms position. And be prepared to answer questions about your job history directly and succinctly, but in a way that offers the interviewer insight into how you can help them.
Why do you love your job?
Well, I am working for a B Corp organization, which was a goal. And I love that. Certified B Corps prioritize people and the planet in a way most companies don’t. It feels good to work with like-minded people when it comes to topics like climate change and environmental impact, as well as health equity and other social justice issues.
As for the day-to-day, I love partnering with a dedicated team of recruiters and talented communications professionals to brand Northwest Permanente as the exceptional employer it is. Recruiting physicians is extremely challenging right now for a whole host of reasons, but I enjoy thinking of creative ways to meet that challenge. I also enjoy hearing about the success stories, knowing that our efforts have indirectly had a positive impact on quality health care by ensuring that the best physicians are hired to take care of patients.
From a culture perspective, I value the collegiality of the teams I work with. People are responsive, helpful, informed, and engaged. We are all working toward the same goal, even if we sometimes have different ideas of how that goal might best be met. And the opportunities for continued education and professional development are quite relevant and valuable to me.
I also love working for an organization that values its staff and shows it in meaningful ways – like regular professional recognition, competitive compensation, quality healthcare benefits, generous PTO, and retirement contributions better than I’ve ever seen, including a pension. Yes, I said pension! 😊