My wonderful, wise husband graciously agreed to write another guest post, so today is a bit of a departure from Fearless Friday. The purpose of this blog is to help us pay attention to the relationships, experiences and practices God uses to form us. Certainly, hunting for a job can be one of those experiences. So, here are some thoughts from John…
I’m reading Proverbs these days, so my spiritual growth is more ‘out in the real world’ than usual. For instance, I’m in the midst of interviewing/finding the right fit for 3 positions. One thing that’s struck me is, “Boy, I wish I knew this back when I was trying to get a job”. As we talk and pray, drilling beneath the “right character, right skills, right chemistry” mantra that many of us use as a template, it’s so hard for people on either side of the interview table to “get it right”. Since I’m sure many of you will be looking for different work in the near future (hopefully not sooner than you think!), here are some hard-earned lessons to navigate the seas of vocation. Just three to start:
NOT THE RESUME, the Passion… we can pretty quickly discern skill-sets and experience, but these days I want to know ‘What makes your heart sing’? Personal stories offer insight when they get beyond “I supervised 37,000 left-handed redheads.” I lean forward when I hear, “I found myself crying when the team broke up”, or a story of how you were used to touch one old person’s life, and THAT’S why you want this opportunity. Don’t gush, but show some heart.
NOT THE SUCCESSES, the Learnings: so tired of people who’s “weakness” is that they work too hard, or are never satisfied. I want to hire someone who says, “I was embarrassed to find out that they ALL thought I talked too much; boy, did that change me”, or “I felt awful when we had to let this person go, because I never gave them a hint that they were hurting themselves.” The lessons from our mistakes convey both self- awareness and humility, indispensable to a team. Sure, you’ll talk about your strengths, but transparency shows you can grow!
NOT THE ANSWERS, the Questions: I want people who care enough about this job that they’ve done some homework, but I want to learn about them from their questions… so you better have some! “What’s one key emotional attribute you look for on your team, assuming we can all do the job?” “What’ve been the toughest things for people in this area/department/job to deal with recently?” Recently, someone asked me, “You seem awfully level-headed; how will I know I’m in trouble if you’re not saying something directly?” Our questions demonstrate the values we’ll bring through the door.
In a tough job market, it’ SO counterintuitive to say, but you’re far better off finding out what they REALLY want, rather than doing or saying anything to get the job. We live in a world that cries out for both authenticity and impressiveness, so offer the best ‘you’ rather than a counterfeit. The other day I hung up twice after a phone interview and said, “I don’t know if we can get this person, but THAT’S what I’m talking about!” A 51-year old woman, and then a 32 year-old man, I’d be honored to work with either… because I feel I know their heart, and not just their resume.
Or as Proverbs 10:9 explains, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out”.