Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interview With Purpose...Keep Your Options Open

"Every single moment of your life you must choose from a number of alternatives. What you choose determines where you will end up." - Shall Sinha

Now the final point on “Interview With Purpose”. Thus far we’ve covered these six questions:

_1. Can the company successfully compete in its market?
_2. What is the company “culture”?
_3. What are the expected outcomes? How is success measured for this position?
_4. Will I have access to the resources required to be successful in this role?
_5. Do my skills and experience truly qualify me for this position?
_6. Would I hire myself for this position?

The final question is probably the most important and tends to get the least amount of attention:

_7. What are my other options?

This is a real challenge for people who are highly motivated to take a new position, especially if they are really unhappy in their current job or unemployed. Everyone has their reasons for seeking a new job. If you are desperate (perhaps unemployed and running out of money) and have few options, you do what you have to do. I get that. I’m not addressing that situation.

What I’m talking about here is the person who may be unhappy and frustrated in their current job. They start looking around (or get a call from some headhunter) and suddenly they find themselves in the interview process for what would appear to be a much better position. And if they have done their homework and the answers to the first six "Interview With Purposes" questions are very positive, this may be exactly the right job. Sometimes the term “no brainer” really does apply.

But most often there are unanswered questions or concerns about any new job opportunity. The big mistake people make is when they focus too much on how the new opportunity compares to their current job. Career decisions deserve more than a “Ben Franklin” T-chart, pro’s vs. con’s analysis. Take a deep breath and step away from the “either or” decision. Most of the time it’s really an either or, or, or, or….decision. And candidly, I would urge people not to take a new job if ANY of the answers to the first six questions are NEGATIVE. All of the answers don’t have to be clearly and strongly positive, but if you have a negative one why would you take the job. What are your odds of success? It’s a worn out phrase, but don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. There are other options. They are out there….you just have to be patient and keep looking. (And stay plugged into a good, trustworthy Headhunter.)

With that we wrap up the Interview With Purpose series. I urge you to go back and read each entry. I hear the consequences of poor career choices every day as I speak with candidates who took the wrong job and employers who hired the wrong person. Often I hear words to the effect that they knew it wasn’t a perfect match, but there were more positives than negatives, so it was worth the risks. There are always risks, even when the decision appears to be one of those “no brainers”. Change is uncomfortable and it’s easy to fall into the trap of “better the devil I know that the one I don’t know”. It’s ok to be nervous about changing jobs. But if there are no major negatives and no better options, take the plunge and go for it. However, unless you just need a paycheck, never take a job knowing that you are walking into a bad situation, you’re not a good fit for the position and you’ve not thoroughly considered other options. As crazy as it sounds, people do it every day.

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