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Looking for a New Job Is like Looking for Love

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by Lisa Johnson

over 2 years ago

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When I came onto the dating market a couple of years ago, I hadn't had a first date since 1987.  It was overwhelming how much things had changed.  I wasn't sixteen anymore, and it wasn't a matter of getting your friend to tell his friend that you liked him and then take it from there.  And I found it a bit freaky how much like recruitment the search for romance was.

Some people are in it for a good time, not a long time.

What on earth has happened to loyalty and commitment?  One party says they want something long term and promises commitment, and the other party agrees.  Then, shortly after, someone pulls the pin and leaves the other party in the lurch and feeling a little used and dirty.  The obvious example is the candidate who leaves a job within a short period, or the candidate who only went through the process to get a job offer to use as a bargaining tool for a salary rise with their current employer.

People have unrealistic expectations.

You know this is true.  You tell yourself you have standards, and THIS time you are not going to be taken advantage of by a no good, conniving piece of work.  So you decide to set a high benchmark.  You refuse to budge.  And then you complain when nobody quite meets your expectations. Employers do this all the time.  This time, they want the perfect candidate.  He or she will have the perfect amount of experience with the most ideal systems skills.  In addition, they will have outstanding communication skills, superb personal presentation and want $20,000 less than the rate.  They will also offer to work weekends and late nights and never whinge when asked to cut their holidays short to come back and sort out the missing file drama. 

Looking for a New Job Is like Looking for Love

Well, I have this message for all of you: that perfect person is not out there.  

You have set the bar so high nobody is going to measure up.  You have a choice – either stick to your guns and kiss a lot of frogs or reevaluate your expectations and open the search to a broader range of candidates.

Employers are from Mars and applicants from Venus.

It's important to realise that employers and employees have different expectations.  

The employer believes that they have simple needs (someone to turn up and do the jolly job), and the employee thinks that their needs are straight forward too (be paid for a fair day's work with recognition for a job well done).  

But like people in relationships, they forget to communicate effectively. Good communication is just as important in your employer/employee relationship as it is in a personal relationship.  

Be honest and direct with your expectations; set realistic goals and make the effort to provide feedback (this goes both ways). In a job interview, if you are the applicant, be prepared to ask questions – ask the hiring manager how they like to manage their staff, ask about deadlines and how often staff fail to meet them and why (this will tell you if the company has unrealistic expectations), and ask them what they believe will be the most challenging aspect of the job. If you are the employer, ask more 'Tell me about a time...' questions.  A job applicant is going to want to present themselves as positively as possible, so if you ask questions like, 'Can you use Excel?' they are going to say yes (or no) but not tell you that they only used it to track a list of people they invited to their 32nd birthday bash.  Instead ask something like, 'Tell me about a time when you were asked to set up a spreadsheet with pivot tables.' Never lie (and this goes for both employer and employee).  If you are an employer who oversells a job to a candidate, you might as well start recruiting again right now.  You should never make promises you can't keep. And if you are the employee, don't oversell yourself either – if you know you can't design a spreadsheet with pivot tables, be upfront and admit it – if the employer chooses you based on some fantasy you have spun at the interview, they are going to expect you to back it up.

When you find the one, it's magic.

Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody who met the love of their life on the internet.  This is disheartening for those people who only seem to kiss frogs, but it's also nice to know that it is possible to connect with someone and have your own 'happily ever after' ending. Finding the perfect job with a great company can be just as euphoric (as can finding someone who is a great asset to the company).  It proves that not every person is a perfect fit for every role, but when it IS a good match, then great things can happen.  People feel good about getting out of bed and going to work.  Management is more positive.  There is a sense of harmony.

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