One of the nuggets of wisdom my dad shared with me often as a child had to do with controlling your attitude. He would tell me about a job he had committed to when he was a younger man, that involved a construction project out in the middle of the desert. Now he was a steamfitter, so he spent a lot of time welding pipe, and you can imagine how fun that was in the desert. He got to a point where he just hated the project. He was miserable in the heat, and he dreaded going to work each day with a crew that wasn’t motivated. It was obvious they didn’t want to be there any more than he did, and they put as little effort into the work as possible. But my dad was not a quitter, so when he committed to go to work on that project, he was bound to see it through. So one day, he just made up his mind that he was going to make the best of his situation. You see, when you drudge through a job (or life in general) being sour and bitter, the one that is hurt and suffers most is YOU.
Early on in my career, I accepted a position managing a dealer network for a reputable horse trailer manufacturer. The work was fast-paced and dynamic, with a focus on relationships…all things I thrive on. However, just as I was starting to really settle in and hit stride in my role, I started noticing little things that signaled all was not as it seemed. What had appeared to be a thriving business, was really a once-solid business that had started to slowly crumble from within. It wasn’t long before I realized the business foundation wasn’t built strongly enough to handle growth. If things start to go awry in that situation, the domino effect can be devastating. However, there are cases where strong change management can recover from adversity and build a stronger company. When you are in the middle of a situation like that, how long do you stay with your struggling employer? In my mind, part of the answer to that question lies in your confidence in the leadership and your level of adversity to risk.
You should always go to an interview well prepared for that final interview question: “Do you have any questions for me/us?” If you’ve given serious thought to how to answer that question, it is quite possible you are already ahead of the majority of job seekers. When that question is posed, It is important not to be too forward, but assertive enough to display confidence and poise. Most people have heard the advice not to ask any questions about salary, as it can appear a bit desperate and tacky. I am going to stay away from those types of questions for another reason though…..asking questions like the examples below can not only serve to further your understanding of whether the position is a fit for you personally, but can also help the interviewer identify more desirable qualities in you. Let’s explore a few examples:
1. Why did you choose to work for this company?
I always love this one, as the interviewer doesn’t usually have a canned answer given the more personal nature of the question. You will likely receive a more candid answer that will provide you with valuable insight. It may also help you gain more common ground with the interviewer that could work in your favor.
We’ve all been there…you’ve made it through the interview phase, and this job opportunity is just perfect for you. You can already see yourself in the role. You feel like you did well in the interview, and you’re holding your breath for that call. Then you get THE LETTER: “We appreciate your interest in our position, however, after careful consideration we are not able to offer you a position at this time.”
Ugh. But before you get too discouraged about the rejections, there are a few positive things that can come out of getting that rejection letter.
One closed door opens another.
Sometimes it is amazing how your career path twists and turns. I remember early on in my career, I wanted to break into the pharmaceutical sales arena. It is a tough world to “switch” to if you don’t have specific product sales experience. People have even written books on how to navigate a transition to pharmaceutical sales (I know, because I bought one). My background and networking were enough to get me into the interview round, but I ended up getting beat out by experience several times. Had I landed one of those first few attempts, I wouldn’t have embarked on the journey that led me to the great career I have now!