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.
Take Power in the Process
Now, I want to remind you of your power in this process so you can seize your potential.
When you know and commit to your priorities, you have power. With reflection and preparation, you’re going to hone in on what is most important to you as you go through the job search and interview process. Then, when you’re in the interview room, you can focus on being authentically you. If you feel yourself putting on an act, projecting something that is not naturally you, or compromising on one of your priorities, beware! Think of the effort it’ll take to sustain and maintain energy, engagement, and commitment to the work if you’ve made compromises on the things that matter most.
When you have a plan, you have power. You might have wondered while reading why you should take all these steps to prepare for your interviews and might still be doubtful about your intent to follow through. Having a plan gives you power; you aren’t only subject to the company’s process but can take steps to ensure that your priorities are covered as well. When you walk in with a plan, you can maximize the limited amount of time you have with each interviewer and target your follow-up on the most important items. Getting to interview for a job you’re really excited about is hard enough. If you don’t know what you want out of the process, you’ll miss the opportunity to get the job that could be right for you.
When you are proactive, you have power. Knowing what is most important to you, asserting your preferences, and collaborating throughout the process (interviews are a mutual exercise!) is empowering. By asking targeted questions, you’ll demonstrate your capabilities and confidence far more effectively than providing polite, respectful, diplomatic answers. Both the company and you want the best outcome—a strong mutual match based on known strengths and acceptable tradeoffs. If someone pushes back when you ask questions to get the answers you need, think about whether this is the kind of place you’d be inspired to do your best work.
Nurture Your Network
You should start looking for a job long before you’re ready to apply or make the move. This is the interviewing equivalent of “always be closing.” You should “always be looking.” To do this successfully, you need to find credible websites that focus on the roles and companies that are most in line with your interests (for example, B Work for mission-driven job seekers, Jopwell for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals, or FlexJobs for remote or work-from-home roles). To find these niche boards, pair a role or function, for example “design” with the words “job board” and you’ll quickly discover sites like Dribbble or Behance. These are not the big job search engine sites. Those sites, including LinkedIn or Indeed, can be helpful when you know precisely what you’re searching for and want to see what openings might be available within your geographic area or search criteria. Next, you should subscribe to newsletters or updates that you can consume on your own timeline (or when an interesting subject line catches your eye) and that include reliable highlights about leaders challenging the status quo, companies making a difference, or products that are changing the way people perceive, experience, or spend their money within a particular space.
Even if you do not want to have a prolific voice on social media, establishing a presence by following interesting people who comment on relevant topics, have roles that you’d aspire to have or who surface articles, podcasts, or posts that intrigue you is beneficial. “Using Twitter,” by Fadeke Adegbuyi provides expert advice on how to use Twitter to find a job (including those that are never posted!), build your network, and advance your career. This is important to start and sustain before you need a job, you never know when you might hear or find something worth pursuing!
important You should also cultivate and invest in your network on an ongoing basis. Your LinkedIn connections are only valuable if you can activate them (i.e. get a response when you reach out)! One strategy is to organize your connections into three groups.
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