Far too many people, candidates, and recruiters alike think of the job hunt as a game, or a thousand other competitive metaphors. And here is where my problem starts. You see, if we start thinking of the action of getting a new job as a game, it implies there are winners and losers. It is inherently adversarial and needlessly so. Yes, I know that there are millions of people who think that recruiting is a game and think they need to “win” the job or the candidate, but I truly feel that this sets us all up to fail in the long run.
How? Well, let’s think about this, shall we? We are all really quite unique and amazing, in our own ways. And yet, when we are in the process of getting a new position, we often times try to figure out what will “win” us the job. What answers do I need to give so that the hiring manager can see me in the job? How should I adapt my language, dress, my needs to “fit in”? We change to win, which is unsustainable on a full-time basis and leads to losing our passion for the job.
If we stop treating the job search as a game with winners and losers, we might be able to change our trajectory. If we treat the job search as a journey, not a destination, we can get more. What if you went to work everyday and felt challenged and fulfilled? How would that transform your life? What would that job or company look like? Now, open your eyes, and ask yourself: Why aren’t you there now? Any time I have made a career misstep, and there have been – ahem – a few, I realize that it was based on a few common mistakes that I’ve made. It may have been failing to listen, or failing to ask enough questions to understand the culture, but the mistake I only made once: failing to be transparent.
I have a lot of quirks. I talk too much, I am incredibly opinionated, and I lack patience. I am also incredibly passionate about my work and solving problems and fixing things. I will work tirelessly to get something right and achieve my goals. And you know what? I think my employer should know all of that about me. I want to tell them what I am all about so there are no surprises if we choose to work together. Bonus side effect of this strategy: It sets the stage for them to come clean to me about some of their not-so-charming traits. Transparency can be contagious.
All that being said, transparency is important in your career. It helps people know what to expect. And trust me, people want to know what to expect, just like you want to know what to expect from your employer. It isn’t a game; it’s an agreement.
Now, please understand, I am not advocating that you show up to an interview in sweats because “that’s how you roll.” No, what I am saying is know a few things about yourself that are important to you in life and that you do not wish to compromise at work. I am also not saying you should be a jerk and that people should deal with it. I am saying that you need to be yourself and be okay with who you are. The decision to join a company is a two-way street. You get to decide to accept an offer. So, don’t spend time on companies you know will not fit your personality, aspirations, or goals.
3 Ways To Be More Transparent In Your Career
Here are three simple ways to be more transparent in your career:
1. Know your requirements & deal breakers.
You know what it takes to fulfill yourself and what you aspire to be. You know what you want out of your career. You know if family is a priority or not. You know what it takes to meet your financial obligations. You know what doesn’t work for you. If you don’t know these things, think about them and start making notes and lists. These are your requirements and deal breakers. These will be the basis of all the questions you will ask during the interview. You should also read between the lines in job descriptions and never apply to a job or a promotion that will cause you to bend on these requirements.
2. Get to know your blind spots.
We all have them, we just need to know where they are so we avoid running into things that sit squarely inside our blind spots. Talk to friends and mentors to learn where yours are. This will help you identify weaknesses and strengths. Embrace both fully. Know where you shine and where you don’t and be okay with it. Very few people are awesome at everything and it’s okay to be average or weak at something. Not a flaw, just an area of potential opportunity.
3. Listen, talk, and target.
Listen more than you talk and target more keenly than either. Spend a good amount of time researching companies that align with your requirements. Read everything you can and listen to people who work there now or have in the past. Focus on a few organizations where you fit in as close to who you are as possible.
This all sounds incredibly lofty, but it’s time to change the game a bit, isn’t it?
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
About the author
With passion and an innate curiosity, Tracey strives to push the envelope to create great experiences for talent. Tracey has been developing digital, mobile and social solutions for nearly 20 years in the talent acquisition space. Currently CredHive’s CEO, she is dedicated to changing the way hiring is done to create a more level playing field for talent. Visit CredHive to learn more.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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