For anyone actively looking for a new job or for a new career direction, part of the preparation or research process would probably involve thinking about their core competencies and reflecting on specific situations where they were able to demonstrate those particular traits throughout their career.
That’s because serious job seekers are well prepared for their interviews either with a recruitment consultant or directly with a hiring manager and can anticipate the types of situational and competency based questions that could await them.
Coming from first hand experience as a long-time recruiter, there is one question that quite often threw even the most well prepared candidates during an interview. Rest assured it was never my intention to trip them up, but nevertheless this particular question often caught them off guard.
Who else is involved in your decision making process?
No matter how professional, driven, independent or experienced someone is, it would be very rare for them to make a decision involving a job or career change entirely on their own. More often than not they would bounce a few ideas off their partner, discuss the offer with friends or colleagues, or perhaps even talk through different options with their parents.
I know that whenever I have been at a crossroads or faced with big decisions in my career, I have always talked through the options with my family, a handful of close friends, and also my mentor.
What’s important here, however, is that whilst you may well receive various opinions, thoughts, suggestions, ideas and pieces of advice, that in the end you still make the final decision.
I received an email from a friend the other day, at the very bottom of which was a quote: “Make all decisions based on the person you would like to become – Dr. Paul Homoly”.
It was this quote that actually got me thinking about several of my candidates’ responses or reactions when I asked them the question highlighted above.
On many occasions during the initial interview, the candidate would tell me that he or she was totally in control of their decision making process. Then, a few weeks later when an offer was looking more likely, they would call me to tell me that their spouse wasn’t happy with the salary or the amount of travel involved, or that their parents weren’t happy with long hours expected in the new role.
If you know that there are others who genuinely care about you and your career, make sure that you involve them from the outset. That way you won’t be faced with any nasty surprises at the 11th hour where you might have to tell a recruiter or your potential new employer that you need more time to think about an offer, knowing that you now really need to discuss it with ‘significant others’.