You’re reading an excerpt of Ask Me This Instead: Flip the Interview to Land Your Dream Job, a book by Kendra Haberkorn. This powerful work is written by a veteran recruiter for job-seekers who want to find their dream job—not just the next job. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, worksheets and a question database, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
You build on your power and seize your potential when you interview every chance you get. To the job of your dreams, you have to show up at your best. You don’t show up at your best without practicing. I want you to interview every chance you get, or at least every year.
importantWhy should you look elsewhere when you have a job you like? It’s the best way to make sure you are there for the right reasons—engaged, enthusiastic, and all-in. Thinking clearly about your career path and preparing to succeed in interviews is more easily approached when you’re not under the pressure of needing a new paycheck, and when you have the chance to weigh your current role’s pros and cons relative to any move you’d consider making. This provocative approach to interviewing opens the door for honest reflection throughout your career. It gives you the freedom to see what else is out there and determine if what you have is better than other options available. You can explore and have conversations to learn more about yourself and how a role and company can support your interests and priorities. It also helps you understand how your experience and skills are valued in the marketplace, which can help you negotiate an offer or go back to your company and ask for a raise. These realizations unlock something powerful—you have options.
If you keep your skills fresh, do your best in the role and cultivate relationships with current, former, and prospective colleagues, you won’t be stuck. So, even when you love your job, answer recruiters’ emails and apply for jobs that look amazing. Sometimes these efforts will go nowhere. Other times, they’ll yield worthwhile conversations and new insights. And maybe, they’ll end up pointing you to the next best opportunity for you—one that you wouldn’t have found without looking at your career as a journey with multiple destinations and a variety of ways to get from here to there.
You will learn every time you go through the interview process as you reflect on the work you’ve done and what you’ve achieved or messed up. You get to articulate your story, refine your value proposition, and learn about yourself and a bit of the world beyond. Maybe the conversations you have this year aren’t the ones that lead you to make a shift, but they help ensure you’re ready and prepared if and when that right role comes becomes a real possibility.
Get Ready to Run
So how do you know if you’ve found the “one”—the job that’s right for you, right now? You should answer one of my favorite questions to ask candidates for yourself. I like to close final round interviews by asking, “What would make you run toward this opportunity with enthusiasm and what would make you run away?”
I give this advice because, though I have asked this exact question dozens of times to others, I didn’t ask it to myself a few years ago. While working long hours in a demanding job, I found myself daydreaming about quitting during the day and casually scrolling through job postings or venting about my job to friends in the evenings. Though I couldn’t see it and truly didn’t realize it, I was already running away. So, when a compelling opportunity with awesome people came up, I took it. It was, objectively, a great job, but it wasn’t the right job for me. Had I taken the time to evaluate my priorities, explore what options were out there—and crucially, had I asked better questions of my interviewers—I could have saved myself and a team I cared about a lot of time, effort and… emotional turmoil. Look, this type of thing happens, and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, but the work and approach outlined in this book can save you and others from having to have the same experience I had.
It is best to intentionally move toward a new role rather than leave a job for any role other than your current position. As an interviewer, the “run toward” question gave me some of the best clues and cues about what mattered to the candidate, where their mind was, and what our risks were if we wanted to hire them and bring them onto the team. I knew it was getting at something when I started to see how people reacted to the question. It often made them sit back, smile, and genuinely reflect before they answered.
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