Here’s the job search scenario: you apply for a job — or approached for a job — and you start going through the interview gauntlet. At the end of it all, you look at the interviews, you look at the work, you are really happy with how well you performed in the interviews — but this little nagging voice sticks in the back of your mind. Back in the day, it is like kissing your sister when you were, instead, hoping for romance.
You should listen to that little voice. It is telling you that the company is telling you to take this job or shove it. Not you saying “take this job AND shove it,” but the company saying “take this job OR shove it.” You see, in most places, jobs are tough to get. Lots of competition for jobs. Companies and recruiters think they don’t have to sell you on why you should work with them — just be happy you have a job, thank-you-very-much.
Companies lose out on good talent when that happens. As Fistful of Talent notes:
I was speaking to a friend the other day who had been in the process of interviewing at a large software company (not Microsoft, in case you were wondering). During this process, she remained interested in the position, but was still a little unsure if the grass was greener there than at her current company. Before getting to the final interview day though, she pulled herself out of the process – so, of course, I had to ask her “Why?”
“I didn’t feel like I was being recruited. They acted like I should have needed them a little too much,” was her response.
That is the precise attitude you should have as a job candidate: if you are not recruited, alarm bells go off in your head about how well you will fit into the company culture. The alarm bells get louder the more “they acted like I should have needed them” it gets.
To be clear, sometimes you have to ignore those alarm bells. A job after being out of work for a year? Offered a job inside the company instead of a layoff? It makes sense to ignore the alarm bells — but not forget them. The alarm bells are right.
Work is a two-way street, not the graciousness of the corporation in allowing you the privilege of working for them to help meet their goals.
You need the real deal. Not kissing your sister.
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.