As I go through this process, I am struck by the parallels between searching for a new job and selling software. The steps are almost identical:
1. Use your resources to identify opportunities.
2. Qualify the best of those, so you know where to spend your time.
3. Identify requirements, and ascertain if you meet those.
4. If so, demonstrate your unique value.
5. Identify and address inhibitors.
6. Close the deal.
All the while, you are identifying risks, evaluating what the next step is, determining if it is in your (or the client's) best interests to go on to that next step, and working towards closure. The main difference between what I am doing now and selling software (heck, selling anything) is that when you sell, you want to close as many things as possible. In this case, while I'd be happy with multiple offers, time and financial circumstances dictate that I am probably going to have to take the first reasonable offer that comes. Thankfully, the most promising opportunity is also the furthest along.
I met with the gentleman who would be my manager if I took a presales position with a small vendor of SOA Testing and Governance Software. After an hour of asking questions he'd already asked me before, and talking about things we'd already covered in earlier interviews, he admitted: "Look, I didn't really have any questions for you today. The purpose of our meeting here was to meet face-to-face, and validate that you are the same strong candidate in person as you presented yourself to be over the phone. You are, and I think you would be a great fit on my team."
I broke the brief, uncomfortable pause with, "So, you brought my offer with you, then?" He laughed, and then began enumerating the short list of things that have to be done before an offer comes. Basically, I have to fly to Dallas and let someone on the executive team buy me lunch. So I will let you know when that goes down.
In the meantime, I have to continue progressing other opportunities, just to be safe. So I had nother interview today, and more tomorrow, Friday, and Tuesday, to convince people to extend me job offers I hope to not need. It's a strange dance, and in feels a little disingenuous of me, but it's got to be done. Heaven help us if I put my faith in this one, strong, compelling opportunity, and it falls through.