Thursday, July 5, 2012

The basic problem of job-hunting

This morning, Sara and I were talking about some of our friends who've had their fair share of job-hunting challenges. I have been thinking about this situation, and have come up with one basic problem:

"lack of fit between the dreams, values, skills, goals, and experiences of the job-seeker and the identified needs of the organization."

Organizations must be careful to hire people who will perform the functions and duties that the organization has earmarked as most crucial.

The job interview is the venue for finding out if various candidates, who may "look good on paper," really have the qualifications and skills needed for the job in question, as it is envisioned by the organization.

Due to this narrow focus on finding the candidate who is exactly qualified for a job, the interviewer has no time or interest in finding out the candidate's full range of abilities and skills. The successful candidate must severely tailor his or her "job profile" to fit the job description as it is written.

Of course, this presents an enormous problem. No human being is made for one job, and one job only. Every job-seeker has a multitude of job-related ideas, capabilities, experiences and potential for growth. The hard part is for the interviewer to see beyond the urgent needs of the moment (as the organization has perceived them) and probe to find out about the real person whom he or she is interviewing.

For the job-seeker, there is a very delicate balance between presenting himself or herself in the precise terms of the job in question, and revealing other important assets that may be of immense value to the organization, even if not at the moment.

Then there are the factors of chance, serendipity, conincidence, unconscious prejudice (on both sides) and just plain luck that usually tip the balance in any job-interview process. Even such intangibles as mood, the weather, and "chemistry" usually have more influence on the hiring decisionthan simple facts and verifiable skills.

The lesson is not to be discouraged if you are not chosen for a particular job. So many factors are in play that no one can predict the outcome of an interview. The best procedure is to review the interview with a trusted friend, to see if any glaring mistakes were made.

If you believe you did your best, but were not selected, let go of that job and move on. Time spent in self-recrimination, bitterness, anger and envy of the person who was selected is time that is mush better spent in refocusing of your job campaign and moving ahead with vigor and determination. Good luck!

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