As a recruiter I have very specific standards for what I am looking for in a hire. I have been studying and perfecting the art of recruiting for the last 6 years of my life and have accepted and embraced the idea that it’s an area that will continue to teach me new lessons. I have this belief that the goal isn’t to keep doing it until you get it correct, but to keep on until you just absolutely cannot get it wrong. Truth be told I have mastered that for some of my clients, but not all of them. The hardest client I hire for is-well-myself.
I happen to be the youngest office manager for the company that I work for (did I mention that before?) and probably the most inexperienced. The reality is this: I am a product of this company. What I know and what I don’t know is a direct result of working for them. I have not been an office manager for another company and I started at an entry-level position here and continue to work my way up. I happen to have some very strong characteristics that result in me having to learn some things the hard way, often the VERY HARD way. The more hiring mistakes I make for myself, the more I learn. But isn’t the hiring process a two-way street? I interview you-you interview me[about me/about the company?]. What about those hiring mistakes that totally misrepresented themselves in the interview process or didn’t ask me the right questions.
When you are on the job hunt are you looking for a job or the job? If you are looking for the job then make sure you are asking the right questions for you as well. I constantly advise job seekers to do their research when seeking employment. Get online and find their mission and vision statement… seek out their client base… seek out their reputation… google them… google the owner… the hiring manager… the more you know the better! I don’t encourage job seekers to know more so they can fake it in an interview; I encourage them to research because to me it is very important that they make the right decision for them. I understand you need to support your family, but lets take the time to do this the right way. What about this position sparked your interest and made you want to apply? (If the answer is “I JUST NEED TO WORK” we aren’t heading in the right direction). Why do you think you’re a fit for this position? Is this a company you can see yourself working for in 5 years? If so why? If not, let’s move on! Why do you think you’d be good at this type of work? “Oh, this type of work really interests me and I think I could be a really good addition to your team!!”… hmm okay, but you didn’t really answer the question and what do you know about my team that makes you think you would be a good fit for my team?
My point is stop applying for positions that aren’t for you. First stop– skill set.. do you truly have the skill set they are asking for in the posting? At a job coaching meeting once I had someone ask “If I did that skill 10 years ago should I include it on my resume?” Well, lets figure this out together; Was 10 years ago the last time you performed that skill? Have you stayed current with the technological advancements involved in that skill? If I hired you for that skill and gave you a task to complete-could I walk away and leave you to do that skill without having to answer any questions for you? Second stop– (only if you pass the first one) do you have the same values this company has? If not, someone is going to end up unhappy. Third stop– did you ask them the questions that truly matter to you? Maybe its something like “Are you guys family oriented?” … “How often do you have staff meetings and do you encourage all levels in the organization to come up with ideas?”… “Do you cross train? Do you hire for growth potential?”… “Do you value quality?”… “What is a typical day for other people in the position I am being considered for?”… These questions are going to vary based on what is important to you-but don’t be afraid to ask those questions. If you misrepresent your skill set or your values in an interview it will come out later and the organization will NOT be happy, I can assure you.
Can you patch things up if you did the complete opposite of what we just discussed? A good start to doing so would be to talk to your hiring manager and admit the mistake. It might be a good idea to start talking about parting ways. Maybe if you initiate the conversation it won’t leave the organization with such a bad taste in their mouth. Even if the job isn’t for you [for whatever reason] you still want to leave on the best possible terms, after all your future employer will probably do some type of employment verification and you wouldn’t want bad feedback given to them. Don’t get too scared though, [hiring manager] still has some skin in the game. If [hiring manager] would’ve done the right thing then the wrong person wouldn’t be in the job. So how does [hiring manager] keep this from happening again? The first answer is make sure you are learning from your mistakes. Write them down, track them, don’t make the same one twice. Make sure you ask all the right questions and do all the right reference checking and employment verification and don’t compromise your standards. Most importantly, wait for them to ask the right questions! Are they really interested in contributing to your team? How do they know that they are really interested in contributing to your team if they didn’t ask you anything about your team?