Read Part One of my interview with Fadi Shannan or listen to the audio podcast.

email to confirm the job offer. I understood that after being in Germany, there is another procedure for me as international candidate, which takes almost another three months. Which, they don't have to go through all of this if candidate been hired locally.

So as you said, it's more job for them.

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah. And also you know, very often they really don't understand the concrete position, because they don't work in this field, and they don't know what you actually doing in the field, and therefore, it's very hard for human resources to evaluate your contribution. And quite frankly, you know, for them nothing is at stake. You're just a piece of paper, if they reject you, nothing happens. But, the manager-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … The manager has a job to be done. He has goals, he needs to achieve deadlines, he needs to meet. And if you can help him reach his goal, then why wouldn't he hire you?

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly. This is really crucial. Because I remember while I was talking to one of the HR … So I asked him technical question, which really they had no clue what I'm talking about. They literally freeze. They said, “Sorry, but we don't know what exactly you're talking about. When you are talking to the hiring manager, we will let you know, can ask all of those questions.” But, unfortunately, that I never reach a hiring manager before, so no one cares to listen to my question.

Chris Pyak:                          Exactly. That's exactly the problem. If you go through the standard application process, then the hiring manager could answer your question, and he would understand that you have value to offer. But since you never get to the hiring manager, because the people before, in human resources cannot understand what you are doing, you are in a fix, in a bind, you don't get out of that. And that's why we ignore human resources and we go directly to the managers in the Job Offer Guarantee because that's what gets [crosstalk 00:16:21]

Fadi Shannan:                   Yeah, yeah. Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          But I wanted to talk with you about the second point. Because of course, the first step is, you find the job, you identify the managers, then I get to work. Every Tuesday, you sent me your five jobs that you're interested in. I go out and I start to build a relationship to these managers, through my own contacts I reach out to them. And-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … By the time that they agree to talk to you, my client, they know already that, yeah, you're an international professional. You are interested in a job with them, and that's why you want to talk with them. So it's very transparent, and it's very respectful. They know exactly what they're into if they say, “Yes, I want to talk to you.”

And here's the interesting thing. Even when people say, “Yeah, okay, I'm willing to talk to your candidate. Introduce you.” Not everyone will follow up. But, again, you have a way to get into people's head, and to get them to respond to you. Because I looked just at the introductions I made for you on XING. In these two months, I introduced you to 18 managers that you have chosen, and that agreed to talk to you. And after this initial contacts, when I say, “Hey, you know. Mr. Manager, this is Fadi. Fadi, this is Mr. Manager. Have a talk.” You write a message to them and say, “Hey. Hello.” And from this 18, 12 wrote you at least one response. Which, again, is better than the average.

What do you think helped you the most, to get so many of them, to entice them to have a real conversation with you? What helped you the most?

Fadi Shannan:                   Of course, at the beginning, because really, yeah, it's okay to be introduced to a hiring manager … At the beginning, when I read the program that I'm going to be introduced to the hiring manager, I was freezed a little bit. Okay, what's I'm going to say? Then I had to go through, again, through your book, and I saw how I can be introduced. And of course, we had a couple of sessions that you-

Chris Pyak:                          Coaching sessions, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   … Yeah, exactly. Coaching session that you told me how to interact with the hiring manager. What exactly the right question to ask. And the way that you put it in the beginning, make a little bit sense to me. Okay, this is might be the really right question to catch the attention of a hiring manager.

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   So I start to follow this strategy. Okay, there is a couple of questions. And you always was, pointing, try to keep it as short as you can. Because if it will be long message, it will be a little bit boring, maybe I'll lose his attention. To follow this two rules. Keep it short, keep it direct, and ask the right question. It was very easy to catch their attention.

Chris Pyak:                          I agree with you, obviously, because I wrote that book. It would be weird if I wouldn't agree with myself. But what I noticed when I look at your results, and I always look at my best coaches, and I look what they do differently. So I can constantly improve on my own coaching. And I think what made the difference in your case, is that you look at this process, not as a technical process, not as a machine that is one step, second step, and so on. But you really understand that what you're doing here is building a relationship.

And when I look at your messages, they implement my advice, and they're very short also. But you manage in this short message, to show a lot of gratitude.

Fadi Shannan:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). Of course, showing gratitude to a person that consider at the first steps as a total stranger for you, this is a very efficient way to gain sympathy. This guy, which is hiring manager, he's for me, a total stranger that I just been introduced by you to help me in just answering some question about the job. So of course, I have to show gratitude. And as you say, it's not like a machine work. It's not like I'm asking questions and waiting for the answer, then I have to ask the next question.

Your way, when we had the coaching session, I was very, how to put this together? Yeah, I needed to know how exactly you going to build a relationship. I didn't understand the term “relationship” with a hiring manager. How to cement this relation with a guy that I really don't know him. As I said, the good start point, was the situation and based on this guy answer, you can very easy to identify if this guy is really willing to help, or he just trying to give a couple of information and that's it for him.


Chris Pyak:                          Yeah, and you really got this point. Because the point is not only to get information, know-how, facts. Because you would probably have other ways to find it as well. The point is really to make the manager care about you a little bit, you know?

Fadi Shannan:                   … Exactly. Exactly. Through the first step, I really was focusing on to make the hiring manager understand that I'm really have something to offer. Really I have something that will be able to solve his problem, as you mentioned. If really, any candidate could reach this point, to understand the real problem behind this position-

Chris Pyak:                          The manager. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   … The manager, exactly. Believe me, from that point, it will be very easy for the candidate to work his way through the whole job process.

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah. And isn't that what we all want? We want someone who cares about our success, who cares, who has our back. And this is what you show with these questions. You don't talk about yourself, but you can offer, you ask, “Hey, what's your problem? How can I help you?” And that's something that stands out. And I noticed when I introduce you to managers, I mention in the beginning that you are [inaudible 00:21:23] a lot of determination. You are really result-focused, and you find your way to get to this point.

And what I could do with you was, I could not only say that to a manager, I could prove it. Because one of the things that you achieve for yourself was that in Kuwait, you couldn't find a language course, so you took-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … A private teacher yourself. And in three months-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … In three months you went from A0 to B1-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … And in German. And I think that proves to people that yeah, this guy he's really serious about moving to Germany.

Fadi Shannan:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak:                          And this-

Fadi Shannan:                   This is true.

Chris Pyak:                          … Yeah. And I think it's not the fact that you speak a little bit of German now, it's the fact that you make this huge effort to actively achieve your goal. It's the attitude what makes the difference, is my feeling.

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly. This is, actually, the point at the last phone call when they offer me the job, they really pointed this thing out that really at the moment they just approve that I have the right experience, but not the language. They said, “Okay. The language, you can get it later. You can take a language course.” They said, “We are sure you will be over that.” So as you said from the whole process they understood that I'm really serious about the decision. And I pointed that out at the last interview, I told them just, “I want you to picture this whole situation for someone that truly have a stable life in Kuwait. And I'm very, I'll say good English-speaker, I didn't go to search for a job in England, or United State, I was looking for a job in Germany. So I'm willing to sacrifice the whole life, the whole stable life that I had in Kuwait, I'm coming to something that really I have no experience in it, but I'm willing to accept the challenge.”

So I'm sure that they think, “Okay. This guy is really willing to come and to start, and he have the right skill for the position. And he also willing to continue with learning the language.” So really, I was very happy that this is [crosstalk 00:23:16]

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah, that's really why my company is called, “Immigrant Spirit.” Because the attitude that you show, that's the real contribution that you bring to my home country. It's not the-

Fadi Shannan:                   Thank you.

Chris Pyak:                          … Technical skill, the education you have, but this attitude you know, to really build yourself a life, and start something new and dare something, you know? That's the kind of spirit we need much more in Germany. And I'm really looking forward to, hopefully very soon, met you in Berlin, and we will have a cup of coffee together.

Fadi Shannan:                   Of course.

Chris Pyak:                          I have a few more questions to get this-

Fadi Shannan:                   Yeah, sure.

Chris Pyak:                          … The most value out for the listener in a short time. This is the part that I don't see anymore. You found a job offer, you found a manager, I built a connection to the manager, I introduce you to the manager, you have a first conversation, and then what happens after you have this first conversation? For the listener, usually I introduce them in a group chat, either on XING or on LinkedIn, so all three of us are in this group chat. And then there is a first hello. And then what happens? What do you do? Do you add them to your contact list? Do you send them an email? How do you continue this conversation? After the first answers.

Fadi Shannan:                   [crosstalk 00:24:17]. Yeah, exactly. After the answer, I just find out is this guy willing to continue the relationship, or this guy is just, I'm going to ask you a question and that's it, please don't do anything more.

Chris Pyak:                          How do you do this?

Fadi Shannan:                   So once I feel … Exactly. Once I feel … This is will be very clear from their answer. Because one of the mangers that you introduced me to, I ask of course, for like to ask him a couple of question over the phone. And I mention in the email I'm willing to talk for only five minute. And this guy spent almost 30 minute with me on the phone, answering all the question, and the guy was very generous to me.

So this type of person, that I really can add to my list. Normally I send, after that, a thank you message with a contact request.

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   Thank him for his time, for that him to answer my question [crosstalk 00:25:02]-

Chris Pyak:                          Oh, okay. I have a question for my own understanding.

Fadi Shannan:                   … Yes.

Chris Pyak:                          So this is when you already had a telephone conversation, basically an interview with this person on the phone.

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          But what happens in this time, I introduce you, you introduce yourself, and the other guy say, “Hello, Fadi.” And what then? Do you take them, do you write a personal email to them, because that's the thing I don't see anymore?

Fadi Shannan:                   At the beginning, I use the group conversation for setting up the appointment. After that, normally it will be through XING because I don't ask for their personal email at the beginning-

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative). So you send them a contact request, or you send them a message-

Fadi Shannan:                   … Yeah, of course. No, I sent the message through XING, and from there I try to keep it a little bit professional. In the end, I said, please if you have further, more information you want to ask, I need to provide you with more information, this is my contact, you can send me email at any time. And I, of course, I write my email, my phone number, and my Skype address. So by that way, I will take it to the next level. We are moving from the social media to a little bit professional, we are using the email now. So-

Chris Pyak:                          … Yeah. That's the thing I wanted to ask you, take it very fast out of this group chat, into a one-on-one conversation.

Fadi Shannan:                   … Exactly. This is normally done after the first contact with him, after the first phone call. Because as you saw, some hiring manager, after the introduction, I sent the message, a few of them they didn't even respond, they just read the message and that's it. I don't know why they … Maybe they just don't use XING too much. But as you said, most of them were able to answer the question. Some of them didn't want to talk over the phone. They said, “Okay, we can keep it here. Just ask your question by writing the message.”

Many of them were willing to have the phone call. So-

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative). Do you know how many phone calls you had with different managers?

Fadi Shannan:                   … Yeah, yeah. Of course. Through the 24 job application that we had, I've been introduced for almost 16 I think?

Chris Pyak:                          [crosstalk 00:26:48]. Yeah, 16. Exactly, yeah.

Fadi Shannan:                   Yeah, I had around 10 phone calls.

Chris Pyak:                          Oh, that's good.

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly. It was different between hiring manager … One of the job, actually, it was through like a job agency. I was talking to the guy who's work in the agency, and there actually, I wasn't expect more, I took it as an exercise just to understand a little bit of the market. I know since the guy was working in an employment agency, I know that he will have some inside information about the markets a little bit.

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   As I said, I took it as an exercise. The guy was very generous and the phone call took almost 40 minutes. And he send me an email with many BDF about the salary expectation, the salary range, all the company that are willing to hire international candidates. As I said, I wasn't expect much, but the outcome was really very good. Although, I didn't had a job offer, but at least I gained some good information about the market, the medical equipment market.

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah. One thing that I found very interesting because it happens more often than one thinks, you had to find a job offer, and you had to find the manager behind it. And I introduced you-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … To this manager. And it turns out that she was not the right person. And what happened then?

Fadi Shannan:                   Yeah. I remember at the beginning, you told me there was a mutual friend between you and her. I saw that she had a look of my profile, for almost two to three times in the same day, so I said, “Maybe she's a little bit interesting.” And then she send a message, she told me, “Hi Fadi. I really appreciate that you are interesting to the job, at the moment I'm not the right person to talk to, but I will introduce you to the person who can help you on this.” And she send my contact to the next manager, which she also contact me in less than one week to start discuss with me about the job process.

Chris Pyak:                          And that happens quite often, that even when it turns out that you addressed maybe the wrong person, it's not that big a deal because this person at least knows who is the right person-

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly.

Chris Pyak:                          … And can introduce you. And what-

Fadi Shannan:                   And as you can see, it happened like three, four times with us.

Chris Pyak:                          … Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fadi Shannan:                   We send the email, and the guy was, “Okay. It's okay, but I'm not the right person.” Sometimes I just insist for the phone call, just maybe I'll get some extra information. Because you know, it's always when you are talking, much better than the message because messages are always limited.

Normally, they are really willing to send, “Okay. I'm really, I'm not the right person. This is the hiring manager, you can contact him directly.” Or sometimes they just don't know who's the hiring manager, so they direct you again to the HR. And at this moment, it is okay to understand, okay this is not the hiring manager either. To contact the next person or to start search for the other potential hiring manager [crosstalk 00:29:22]

Chris Pyak:                          And even if they recommend you to HR, it's already different, because you are not a cold contact who's simply applying for a job. But in that case, someone inside the company recommended you for this position, and when you apply, you can always say, “Yeah, Mrs. So-and-so, Mr. So-and-so, they asked me to send my application to you.” And it's correct.

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly, this is true. I told you at the beginning, I had only one job interview through the almost 500 job application. And actually, this only job interview came through one connection to me in the company. I used to work with this company here in Kuwait, so I ask them, “Okay. I'm trying to look for a job in Germany, so if you have some opening, I'm willing to accept it.” So the guy told me, “Okay. I can introduce you to the HR.” And the HR really gave me the second day, a phone call asking me if I want to do, if I want to, what type of position that I'm interesting to.

Really, this is make a quite difference if you've been introduced by someone inside the company, this is much, much better situation than applying as a random candidate [crosstalk 00:30:19]

Chris Pyak:                          Because it adds trust. Getting a job is not only about being qualified for the job, it's also if they trust you as a person. And that's exactly what an introduction provides. And that is also why this Job Offer Guarantee works, because even though I first have to build a connection to the manager, once he's connected to me, it adds additional trust if then I go and introduce you. Because it tells the manager there's someone who is willing to put his own reputation on the line to introduce you and to help you. And this gets you this minimum trust that you need to have a conversation.

I just wanted to ask a few more questions.

Fadi Shannan:                   Sure.

Chris Pyak:                          The funny thing is, the job that you actually landed, it was also through someone who recommended you again then. I introduced you to this lady, she wasn't right. She forwarded you to the next person, and they offered you a job. Can you tell us how long time did it take, from the moment that you first spoke to your final contact person?

Fadi Shannan:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Pyak:                          To the moment until they really decided okay, now you get the job. Also basically this Sunday.

Fadi Shannan:                   As I said, it was a little bit for me, longer process, because I had to go through four interviews after making the first contact with the first person in the company. She redirect me to the next person, we had a phone call, and she told me, “Okay. Actually, we are looking for a German-speaking candidate. But actually, your qualification is more matching for the job. So let me discuss it with the hiring manager, and I will come back to you.”

And it took them almost one week to decide that they will have another interview. Then, I had an interview with the right hiring manager for this position. Then, they said, “Okay, we finish this interview.” It was through a Skype video. They said, “Okay we will give you a decision and around two week we have to discuss it with our VP.” A senior VP, sorry.

After another two weeks, they decided that okay, our senior VP want to have an interview with you. And it was one long hour of interview. The guy really asked all type of hard questions just to know how I can deal with every situation. At that moment, I was a little bit nervous, because of course, the difference between the Kuwaiti culture and the German culture, I thought this is what might have an impact on the whole procedure. They said, okay, this guy dealing with a different type of people. He will not do much more in here.

After they told me okay, I ask him, “Okay, what will be the next step after here?” He said, “Okay, we'll discuss it. We will let you know in another two weeks.” And exactly after 10 days, they invited me to on-site interview, where I had to interview six managers in there from different department. And from what I understood, that this last interview wasn't more about my qualification, it was more about am I fit to the company culture or not? Do I qualify to interact with all these department with no problem or not?

It wasn't really technical interview, it was like more than formality. [crosstalk 00:33:16]

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah. When did you have for the first time the feeling, “Ah, this can work”?

Fadi Shannan:                   To be honest, after the second interview with the hiring manager. Because I really did very good during this interview, I was able to answer all his question. I was asking all the right question. Because normally, after every interview, they will ask you if you have a question for us? And of course, during our coaching sessions, you teach me what will be the best questions to ask for hiring manager. And actually, really those question works very well for me.

And actually, one question the guy was very interesting to see, and he told me, “Really, this is one good question to ask at the moment.” And he answered for me very well. Starting from this point I said, okay those guys really are interested in me. I need to put more effort during the next step, especially with the senior VP, because I know this guy will ask a different type of question too. That's not technical, it's more behavioral questions.

And after having all this interview, I start feeling that I'm getting more and more progress. After the email-

Chris Pyak:                          And then Friday comes?

Fadi Shannan:                   … HR … Exactly.-

Chris Pyak:                          And then Friday comes.

Fadi Shannan:                   … I received that email, I said, “Oh, my dream went away. That's it. We need to start.” And you remember, I sent you the email? I said, “Okay, Chris, we have to start from ground zero. We need to search for the next hiring manager.” And surprisingly, when I received the phone call, for me I said, “That's it. Just a formal call to say sorry we're not going to offer you the job.” So the HR specialist called and she was talking about the weather because at the moment, you have a very cold weather in Germany, I know that.

Chris Pyak:                          Because that's what you're interested to hear.

Fadi Shannan:                   Exactly. So she told me, “We still suffering from the cold weather.” And then she asked me a questions. She told me, “Okay, after all this interview. What do you think about the job? Do you think it's something you can do at the moment?” Said wait a moment, if she going to refuse me, why she's going to ask me such a question? I'm sure she's not that cruel. Like, she's not going to play more with my nerve.

I told her actually, from what I saw you have some really big challenges that someone and you looking desperately for someone to face those daily challenges. And she said actually, we are too, and really all the manager that you met are having very positive feedback about your experience, and your next challenge will be the language.

And right away I told, to be honest, the language will not make a problem for me, I know how much fast I can learn. Of course, will make difference for me if I'm working in a German environment, it will be much, much better. My current challenge is to understand how your company working. How to be able to solve really your problem.

And really she like how much I care about trying to solve those problem. I'm not just a guy who's just coming to do some tasks and go home. This guy's willing to come and think, and share his knowledge, to solve the problem that we are saving. And to be honest, this is something I will never come across in my mind, before our coach sessions. Because normally when I go to an interview, it just one-way session. Like I'm sitting there, he asking a questions, I'm just there to answer. But, the way you teach me in our sessions, you have to make it like two professionals guy talking to each other. Okay, you are professional hiring manager, I'm a professional candidate. You have a problem, I'm here to solve it.

And to be honest, when I had the interview with the six manager, the last interview was with the service manager, and with the sales manager. And actually, it was me interviewing them. I was asking the questions and then in one point, I said, “What's I'm doing? I'm not interviewing them. Let them ask some questions.” So I stopped, I said, “Okay, Chris, you are getting in my head now.”

So really your way is a very effective way, just you make the candidate understand how to use his tools. Just don't go to an interview and be shy, and just feel that your skill are not matching the job, and you are way far to get this job offer. Just think that okay, you had your experience, you know what you are doing, just go there and show it off. Tell them that-

Chris Pyak:                          The secret is really to make it concrete, you know? To … Ah, he's gone for a moment. Are you still … Are you back? Fadi?

Fadi Shannan:                   … Yes?

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah, good. Just to wrap it up. Yeah, the secret is really to make it concrete. To find out what is really troubling them. And when they have a concrete problem with your work experience, you know what to do. You can just tell okay, have you tried this, and this, and this?

But, so in this call, we are still on the final call on Sunday, you finally got the job. What are your next steps now? What is coming for you?

Fadi Shannan:                   Actually, when they send the email they want me to start at first of May. So now I finish the first challenge which finding the job offer. Now, I have the next challenge, to relocate to Germany. Now, since as I said, I'm a medical engineer and I had my degree already assist the German formal [inaudible 00:38:12]. So I'm qualified at the moment to apply for the blue card, which is the something, almost close to the permanent residence. It's for residency for four years and can be renewable.

I had contacted today the embassy here in Kuwait. Because they don't face this situation here in Kuwait every day. They don't find someone that going to have a work permit in Germany from Kuwait. So I send them an email, they give me a phone call, they told me, “Okay we understand that you want to apply for a work permit.” They send me like a checklist, which is the most important part in there is to have a copy of the job contract. And the second to have accommodation in Germany. Which I think at the moment, this is very quite different to find something since I'm really out of the country.

I looking since yesterday, how accommodation work in Berlin. Once I have that, I already set appointment for the 25th March, for the Visa interview. And hopefully, I will get it soon, before the deadline they give.

Chris Pyak:                          Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, that's very good. There's actually a company called, “Homelike” who rent apartments on a month-to-month basis. That would be a way to very quickly get something to get started.

Fadi Shannan:                   Homelike?

Chris Pyak:                          Homelike, yeah. We made an interview with them, [inaudible 00:39:22] to see, or just a couple of weeks ago.

Fadi Shannan:                   Okay. You can introduce me to him, of course.

Chris Pyak:                          I will. I will do this as well.

Fadi Shannan:                   Okay, thank you.

Chris Pyak:                          Yeah, Fadi, I'm really happy for you and I'm really looking forward to meeting you in Berlin one day when I come over there from Düsseldorf. And how do you celebrate with your family?

Fadi Shannan:                   Of course, we brought cake yesterday. Because as I said, there was like almost 10 people waiting for the phone call. Like my wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, my brother was. Everybody was waiting. Like, “Did you get the job? Did you get the job?” I said, “Okay, relax guy, I got it. I'm professional, it's easy to get a job in Germany.” They don't know what a nightmare that I had to go through.

But really, it was really, to be honest, yesterday may be one of the first day that I really slept without need to think about anything. I secured my dream job for the  next maybe ten years.


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