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A Salt Lake employment agency approaches getting jobs for its clients the way a big league football coach might go about winning bowl games.

Unlike most employment firms, however, JBH Associates, 2180 S. 13th East, involves its clients' as partners in the job search, tries to minimize and solve problems that occur at home because of career changes and uses partners as assets in the hunt for a new job.Moe Hebert, a director at JBH Associates, says his firm interviews clients long and deeply, trying to understand their priorities and values, their best attributes and their most marketable skills, and then teaches them how to look for a new job and trains them to star in interviews with prospective bosses.

Paper and pencil tests are part of the interview process, Hebert says, but the most important preparation involves intensive one-on-one interviews between the client and a JBH supervisor or director.

"We want to know as much as possible about our clients. We want them to get the best position they can, the one that will make them happiest and reward them the most."

Hebert said most job seekers, especially those who have been fired or who have quit over some dispute with a boss, have self-doubts and low self-esteem. These can be compounded by marital problems.

"The hardest-hit people are those who are out of work, looking for a job and in the midst of a divorce. They have terrific pressures on them. A big part of our job at JBH Associates is bolstering people up so they can go out and face employers."

Even if a job seeker has a happy home life, problems often crop up during his search for a new or different job. Herbert said he and his associates know how to build egos "just as a coach would after a team has lost a game or, at half time, when the team is way behind."

When it comes to dealing with a client's partner usually a wife because most of JBH's clients are men the employment firm not only interviews the client's wife but gives her psychological tests and a stress analysis to help find out if there are problems so they can be solved before they grow.

"A wife can be a great asset. She can also be a stumbling block if she is working against her husband. Wives are a vital factor in any job search."

Herbert said many people don't appreciate themselves, their skills and their accomplishments. "They have tunnel vision when it comes to their assets and abilities. We like to find out everything they've done, the clubs they've belonged to, their hobbies and the skills they might not even appreciate they have.

"Once we and the client decide on a target in a job search, JBH prepares the best possible resume and sets up a rigorous marketing campaign to present the client to employers."

Hebert said the campaign includes coaching the client in how to shine in interviews and how to put his best foot forward. Mock interviews are staged, and television cameras record the client's reactions to questions, his body language and general conversation.

Then the television tapes are played back and the client can study his behavior. "Many of our clients are surprised some are amazed that they slouch or interrupt the interviewer or otherwise display bad habits that could lose a potential job.

"I can't stress how important the interview between a client and a potential boss is. It may only take a few minutes, but it can win or lose a job."

Hebert says too many applicants apply to and interview with the wrong people "people who couldn't hire you if they wanted to. It is vital to find the people in a company who really have the hiring authority the decision makers and interview with them."

The world is full of people who are in the wrong jobs, who started in a field when they were young and stayed in it "too long. A lot of people back into jobs: They take jobs for one reason or another and don't bother to look for a position that would really satisfy them or make them happy until they are past the `fed-up' level."

Before JBH Associates sends anyone on a job interview, they know the client is competent to hold that job. "Often, there are 20 or 200 people interviewing for the job, and many of them are highly qualified.

"It is the interview the face-to-face conversation between the client and the potential boss or hiring official that is all important. All other things being equal, if the potential boss likes the client, he is practically in."

Hebert says it is not uncommon for a boss to actually hire someone he likes even though there is no actual job for the applicant. "Bosses make jobs for clients if they like them and believe they will be an important asset to the company."

Anyone who thinks a degree isn't important is wrong, Hebert says. Dressing well and correctly, bearing, poise, posture and friendliness are important, too. "Don't let anybody tell you initial impressions aren't important. They are."

Hebert says his intensive preparation of clients is no cover-up. "We simply accentuate the positive and try to eliminate the negative. Most people don't know how to look for a job, how to apply or how to interview. It isn't something that is generally taught in school, but we are experts in it, and it is a skill we enjoy teaching our clients.

`It is a buyer's market in Utah right now lots of applicants and not too many jobs. But jobs are there if you know where to look, and that is one thing we pride ourselves on knowing where to look."

Hebert said most well-paying jobs, in the $30,000 to $50,000 and over range, are not advertised but exist within companies and are usually filled in a few weeks.

Hebert exploded the myth about older workers not being able to get good jobs. "I think that idea is just in some people's heads. Older workers have special attributes, experiences and skills that younger people don't have. You simply have to find the right spot for an older person.

"I think firms that have a lot of younger workers need older workers to balance them out. Firms with older workers need to have younger workers, too, for the same reason."