Feelings Come First in a Job Search
Preparing for an interview can seem rather mechanical sometimes.
As a candidate, you read the job specification and mentally comb your previous experience for suitable anecdotes that demonstrate your competence. This might ensure that you persuade the employer that you can do the job, but to give yourself the best chance of securing a dream role, you have to go beyond a box-ticking exercise.
Your interview needs to transition onto the level of feelings.
You have to tap into the essence of what people at your future employer will feel when they work with you, and how you might feel in your dealings with them. In a choice between a “safe pair of hands” or “one of the family,” there is only one winner. If the right feelings are present in an interview, most potential employers will turn a blind eye to certain less-than-ideal practical considerations.
So why don’t candidates search their feelings more when they are preparing?
When I coach a candidate during their job search, the sense of being overwhelmed is common. The mental challenge that comes with the uncertainty of a job search is sometimes so daunting that it is tempting to hang onto the more practical aspects of their candidature. “I am going to go into the interview, talk about how what I have done previously is relevant, and hopefully I’ll have done enough to get it.”
Such thoughts might seem logical, but you won’t be the only one applying for those dream roles. If a role is worth having, then you can be sure that the competition is fierce. Candidates owe it to themselves to ask themselves the difficult questions around how they would feel in the role, and how people feel around them (in various situations), focusing on how they fit rather than whether they fit.
People “do a good job” in a myriad of ways. What does your “good job” look like and how do you make an impact on everyone that you meet along the way?
If you can work that one out, you are along the right lines.
This naturally requires a decent knowledge of the future role and the culture of the potential employer, but in our social-led world it has never been easier to dig that little bit deeper for information. Surprising amounts of employers would be happy for you to get in touch with questions before interviews – they want you to set the best possible stage for your interview performance too.
It all comes down to explaining (and demonstrating) your “why.” It would be foolish to assume that you can get away with talking about yourself in lofty terms without any concrete evidence, but it is vital to understand what impact that you want your anecdotes to impart. When you walk out of the room, how do you want your future employer to feel about you and how did they understand you felt about them?
You are potentially going to be spending thousands of hours with these people.
Why wouldn’t you want them to get to know the real you?