John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
Don’t interview to see whether you fit what the employer wants. Interview to see whether the employer fits what you want.
Candidates often fall into the trap of interviewing to find the answer to, “What do they want someone to do?” This is a trap for two reasons. The first has to do with the natural slipperiness of the employer’s answer to that question. The second is that you don’t really get the information you need for a smart decision.
At a granular level, an employer knows what he wants a new-hire to do. He knows what very specific responsibilities he wants someone to be able to do. But, every employer wants so much more than that and can often have a hard time putting it into words without sounding clichéd. Phrases like “team player”, “go-getter”, and “eager to grow” fall into that category. It’s too easy to conclude you fit what the employer wants without really knowing much beyond generalities like these.
The more effective approach is to think, first, about what it is you want in your new position and then to ask whether that will be available to you. Is it a certain type of engagement you’d like to work on? Supervisory responsibilities? Support for pursuing a particular credential? Mentoring in the area of business development?
The fundamental value of this approach is that if the things you want will not be available to you, better for you to know that now than after you’ve accepted a position based on blue-sky comments during an interview. Another value is that employers want to hire candidates who know what they want and are eager to pursue it.
When everyone else is trying to find out “what do they want someone to do”, you will automatically stand out by starting with what you want and then trying to determine if you can get that in your new job.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for coaching in how this approach can work for you.