Just stop. Really
In a recent article, I wrote how job descriptions weren’t doing the job they’re supposed to do. I’ve ranted about how I think resumes are a thing of the past. I’m not done.
This week I’m going to turn the tables, and yes, you guessed it, turn the tables on you. Today’s article is about the answers to the question: What kind of role do you want? A question I ask people all the time as I’m always trying to match people up with prospective recruiters and employers. And let me just say folks, some of you are making it VERY difficult for me to “sell” you through. Why? Because your answers are lame. Let me share a few with you.
1. I WANT A JOB WHERE I CAN HAVE A REAL IMPACT.
Really? Please go out and ask everyone on your team if they want a job that has a real impact. Doesn’t everyone? If you’re honest with yourself impact is like respect. Someone doesn’t give you the opportunity to have an impact in a job. You figure it out for yourself; impact is earned.
2. I LOVE [FILL IN THE PRODUCT/CATEGORY — FOOD, MUSIC, CRYPTOCURRENCY, ETC.]
Ok. Let’s play this out for a second. I’m now the hiring manager for super cool company X that’s in the field you love. Guess what; I expect you to LOVE the product. If you don’t love it, I probably won’t give you the job. That answer doesn’t tell me why you’ll be helpful in getting other people to love the product.
3. I WANT A ROLE WHERE I’M STRATEGIC RATHER THAN TACTICAL.
Strategic: a powerful and important word, but it fits in the same category as impact for me. Everyone wants to be strategic. I was talking once with an executive at a well known SAAS company the other day. I asked her what she was known for. She told me she was “strategic.” I promptly told her that was a boring answer. Needless to say, she was a bit offended. I then asked that if I walked down the hall of her office building and asked her peers if they would describe themselves as “strategic,” would they say yes? Her response, “Point taken.” Yes, as your role requires thinking more about solving future problems, it IS going to be more strategic. But ALL positions should be strategic, strategic for that role.
4. I’D LOVE TO WORK FOR [FILL IN WELL KNOWN “COOL” BRAND NAME DU JOUR.]
Now this one isn’t so bad, but I’m still going to keep it on the list. I would find it an interesting learning experience to go and work for companies like Facebook, Google, AirBnB, SpaceX. But there’s the problem with saying you want to work for one of the cool kids: You’re narrowing your focus. I’ve learned from working with multiple startups over the last 25 years that you learn more; you get to do more, you get to be more strategic (oops, there’s that word again,) and get to have a fast impact at companies people have never heard of before. I have a VIVID recollection of interviewing at Pandora. Almost everyone I knew was telling me they were going to fail and I was a crazy person jumping from my awesome job to this startup that was hanging on by a thread. When I got to interview with the CFO I asked him why, if the company was going to go under in less than six months, he was there. His answer is what convinced me to join the team. It’s also worth noting that I also asked the CEO if I needed to “LOVE” music (hi note number 2). His answer? No.
5. IT DEPENDS.
Please, please just stop saying that. It depends tells me absolutely nothing. You remember how I talk about every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in? When I’m in a room with a hiring manager, a recruiter, or some ladybadass in my network, you do NOT want me to say, “Well I know this awesome person, but when I asked him what he wanted to do he said ‘it depends.’” Spoiler alert, if I don’t know how to articulate why you’re uniquely awesome, I’m not going to do it. Think I’m a jerk? Go back and think about the last person you recommended for a role or a promotion. You knew and were able to articulate clearly why she was unique and awesome.
What should you say? Well, my friends, if you’ve been reading me for a while, you should already have an idea. I talk and write about this all the time. Better yet, know someone who might need this kick in the pants/advice? Tell them to sign up for the newsletter.
Because here’s the truth, you awesome people: I want you ALL to have the role where you can have real impact, where you LOVE the product, where you can make strategic decisions, and that you can be proud to tell your friends and family that YOU got to be part of the building/turn around of an awesome company.
It all starts with getting better at answering the question: “What do you do?”
Want to learn how? In just a 30-minute phone call, we can get you that perfect introduction. Learn more here.