Circumstances surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic have led our country to an economic crisis where millions of job seekers are competing for very few job opportunities. In this article, I have taken some of my most trusted interviewing and selection tips for companies, and I am flipping the coin to translate those tips for the job seeker’s benefit.
For those who are now finding themselves in transition, it may be tempting to jump at the first application and sign the first offer letter they receive, regardless of where it came from and what it requires. While fear is understandable in the current climate, it is crucial to consider the long-term ramifications of haste. Jumping too quickly into a job that turns out to be the wrong fit can be more costly than taking the time to get it right. A short stint at a company always raises eyebrows in an interview, while on the other hand, staying in a bad job can be harmful to you both physically and mentally.
#1 Clarify priorities. Make a list of job attributes by priority, in order of what aspects are most important to you. Some factors that may influence your decision include commute, work environment, company history and stability, opportunities for growth and advancement, type of work, size of team, typical clients, etc. Identify your top three most important criteria, and as you progress through your job search, don’t concede any of those top three.
#2 Know thyself. “You’re hired for what you know; you’re fired for who you are.” In other words, although you may have the skill set to get a job done efficiently, this is not the only or even the most important indicator that a position is the right fit for you. Your knowledge, qualifications and experience certainly play a role. However, your personality and that of your employer are critical pieces of the puzzle, as well. In all my 22-plus years in human resources, it’s generally the behaviors, not the skill set, that get an employee fired. Therefore, in an interview, it is imperative that you show a deep self-awareness and understanding of your strengths and challenges, your thinking and communication styles, and how you have learned to adjust to others whose personalities differ. If you can do this effectively, you will be a candidate who is sure to stand out from the crowd.
It can be difficult to determine whether there is a personality match based on just one interview, especially if that interview takes place over the phone or virtually. Here are two questions for job seekers to process when contemplating whether to commit to an opportunity:
#3 Always ask for evidence. When the interviewer turns control to you to ask questions of them, always have some thoughtful questions ready to fire. Realize that your questions reveal to the interviewer what’s most important to you, which is why you should not ask only questions about pay, perks and benefits. Ask questions about the company, job and team, and follow up with “Give me an example,” or “Tell me about a time.” As you are asking this, be mindful of how long it takes them to come up with a story or an example. The longer it takes, the less credible the evidence. For instance, let’s say you ask about the last three people to be promoted from this position and what behaviors led to their success. If it takes the interviewer a long time to produce one name, chances are this company does not often promote from within. Conversely, if the interviewer quickly names five people, you have evidence for a promising career path.
#4 Use experience to inform your next move. Make a list of behaviors that contributed to your previous leaders’ success in their roles and one that led to failure. Create a standard list of questions to ask your interviewers to see how this company’s leadership will behave in similar situations. This type of approach also sets you apart because it shows you are being thoughtful and careful about your next move. It shows that you are discerning, which makes you a more attractive candidate compared to a desperate prospect who will say anything to get the job. It also keeps you holding some of the cards when it comes time to negotiate your offer.
Don’t let a tough job market hijack your hopes for your future. A transition is defined as a movement, passage or change from one position to another. It does not have to be a rushed, frantic process. Be patient, meticulous and methodical, and follow these tips to ensure you will stand out in an interview and land in a job at a company that is the right fit for you.
Originally published: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/06/25/four-tips-for-finding-the-right-job-fit/#34b555f614f0