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A role often gets posted when someone who has been doing that work leaves, when a new initiative is launched or when there is a gap or pain point that needs to be addressed and no one internally has the ability or capacity to solve it effectively. There are other reasons why new roles come into being, but those are by far the most frequent.
In early conversations with the recruiter and hiring manager, ask questions to understand why this position is open. As you continue through the interview process, pay attention to what other team members share to see if they continue to reinforce or contradict what you’ve already heard. Gaps in alignment may seem inconsequential. However, they have the potential to grow and complicate working relationships and outcomes over time. Understanding if everyone agrees on the need for the role and how the position’s responsibilities will be integrated to complement and strengthen existing efforts is key.
It appears that the team is solving for pain, rather than hiring with a plan. Are interviewers extremely eager to bring someone on and capable of listing all kinds of issues but light on details around specific responsibilities, timelines, or milestones? This may be a sign that they know they have a problem, but aren’t quite aligned on the appropriate plan or hire to address the issues.
Communication is inconsistent, inaccurate, or absent. Communication challenges might be between hiring team members as well as with you, leaving you wondering what’s next, what happened, and what does it all mean.
An interviewer makes remarks or downplays the role or the contributions associated with it. An existing team member may be currently fulfilling some of these responsibilities and could be hesitant to let them go. They may also have a different perspective on how the role or work should be structured.
For there to be clarity on responsibilities, whether a backfill or new position, the hiring manager would need to assess relevant changes to the business and how those might impact the profile of talent, goals, or requirements associated with the position. It’s the combination of reflection, forward-thinking evaluation and effective communication to the hiring team that will lead to a consistent view into the role and set an interview process up for success. To do this requires extra work. Often, the hiring manager doesn’t have the ability to reflect and assess thoroughly so the burden to connect what you are seeing and hearing is your responsibility.
The way the interviewers describe the work does not align with what is outlined in the job description. Do the interviews add new responsibilities into the mix or talk about an entirely different type of work? It’s possible that, depending on their own role, people will highlight and focus on different things so be cognizant of the nature and significance of the gaps.