Would you hire yourself?
By Joe Hodowanes
If you were an employer, would you hire yourself?
That question may be a little confusing, so let me try to explain. If you were an employer interviewing a job seeker who is exactly like you in every detail and respect, would you hire that person?
Let's say the interviewer knew everything about you that you know about yourself – how you work when no one is around; what your attitude is toward your work; how you regard the company's customers; how you get along with others in close, daily contact – would the interviewer hire someone like you?
If you're a potential employer, you want answers to such basic questions as the following:
How long were you with your former employer? The answer to this question gives insight into your stability, commitment and reasons for leaving. It's very important to address this question in the proper way.
Why? Simply put, a large component of many interview questions is the search for reassurance. Hiring is difficult, and mistakes are costly. Interviewers crave reassurance that you will fit in and stay with the organization to help solve the problems you're being hired to address. In short, they want to have their confidence level raised.
Have your earnings been steady, with a gradual upward climb? The answer to this question can show contributions to the organization and stability.
If your situation is unusual, can you convincingly explain why? For instance, this type of candid response could turn the tide in your favor: "I am a firm believer that life is meant to be a never-ending education. When this is fully appreciated, we are no longer survivors, but adventurers. I now see that I am ready for a major career change, and this type of position is at the heart of it. All of my previous jobs were the transition period for arriving here."
Would you feel comfortable and conscience-free giving facts regarding your financial affairs, life insurance and established credit? The potential employer can get a picture of the kind of person you are from this information. If you have excellent credit, it tells the employer more about your reliability and sense of responsibility in one minute than you could describe all afternoon.
Can you articulate a clear understanding of your own gifts, skills and unique talents and abilities? This type of self-knowledge is far more important in selling yourself to employers than availability and pay. If you were asked what makes you special and different from anyone else, could you answer convincingly and with pride?
Do you have a history of finishing things? Or have you always stopped just short of the goal? Do you have a "life is what you make it" attitude, or are you the "I never got the breaks" type of person? If you portray the latter, you may find it difficult to sell yourself to potential employers.
Do you have a sense of humor, or do you take yourself too seriously? Laughter can relieve tension, soothe the pain of disappointment and strengthen the spirit for the tasks that lie ahead.
Do you fit the job and the job's culture? Organizations are made up of individuals working as a group to accomplish common goals. If your grooming and appearance send a message that you are apart from the group, you create an immediate, negative, non-team-player image. Do you look as though you belong in the environment of your interview?
What sort of reference letters will your former employer write about you? Would your reference letters say outstanding, very good, average, fair or poor things about you? Unless it is one of the first two, you may find that your past performance is coming back to haunt you.
An employer will examine the qualities revealed by your answers to these questions before investing money in you, and before entrusting you with the company's reputation and product or service quality. So put yourself in the interviewer's shoes, and pretend that someone exactly like you is applying for a job. How do you measure up?
Guest columnist Joe Hodowanes MPA, SPHR is Career Strategy
Advisor and President of J.M. Wanes & Associates, Tampa, FL 33688.
This article is reprinted with permission.