Conversations with Myself: The Search for the Perfect Career

Woman Thinking at Desk Animation

After reading an article by Jeff Haden entitled “Three interview questions that reveal everything” which was based on an interview technique he learned from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider I started thinking about my own career in terms of where I started in relation to where I am today and how I got to this point.

In the article he suggests that every recruiter asks three questions when looking at the work experience/career path of the candidate applying for the position:-

1. How did the person find out about the job?
2. What did the candidate like about the job before they started?
3. Why did the candidate leave?

I reflected on my own career and asked these questions about each of the jobs I held over the years.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE JOB: Did I . . .
• Look at all the job vacancy boards available?
• Look at general job adverts in the various newspapers (print) and online newspapers and job portals?
• Attend job fairs and career guidance exhibitions?

This is where most people find their jobs but if you always find jobs in this way (according to the article), you probably have not figured out what you want to do – and where you would like to do it i.e. which company you want to work for.

This method shows the recruiter that you are just looking for a job – any job. It means that any job will do until something else comes along.

By the time you get to job number 3, 4 and 5 in your career and you have not been offered a job or recommended for a job by someone you worked for previously, it shows you did not build relationships, develop trust and you have not shown a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to recommend you.

WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THE JOB BEFORE YOU STARTED?
Great employees work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do. This means they know the kind of environment they will thrive in and they know the type of work that motivates and challenges them – and not only can they describe it, they actively look for it.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE?
• For a better opportunity?
• For more money?
• The employer was too demanding?
• You did not get along with the boss/manager/your colleagues?

The answer you give to this question shows whether you are a team player and take responsibility for your actions.

Some people never take ownership and always see problems in the workplace as someone else’s problem – they are never to blame nor see themselves as contributing to the problem – it’s always somebody else’s fault.

If you have always “had a problem with the boss/manager/your colleagues” it means that you will always blame others for what goes wrong at work – you will not take responsibility for what you did wrong in the workplace and in that relationship.

The article went on to speak about:

IF YOU ARE BEING INTERVIEWED FOR A LEADERSHIP POSITION . . .
“Great employees go out of their way to work with great leaders”. If you are tough but fair, and ou treat people well, they will go out of their way to work with you. The fact that employees changed jobs so they could work for you/with you, speaks volumes about your leadership and people skills.

All of this has made me think about my own career path and career choices. I have had good relationships with everyone I have worked for and with. I have not burnt any bridges in my quest to move on. I have not gone back to a company I have worked for before purely because I felt it was time to move on – I usually only leave when I have exhausted all the growth prospects available. My lifespan at a company is generally between six (6) and ten (10) years which means that by the time I leave, I have made the choice to never go back.

I am once again in that position. I have been in my current position for the last 10 years but joined the organisation as a temp/casual worker two years prior to that so I’m actually here just over ten years now.

While in my current position, I have been “seconded” to the Human Resources (HR) unit on more than one occasion to assist with organisational transformation – gender and disability mainstreaming, the Employee Health and Wellness Programme, Employment Equity (compiling and submitting reports), assisting on recruitment and selection panels and even being part of interview panels. I have been responsible for internal electronic newsletters (one being an HR electronic newsletter) to keep staff up to date with what’s happening in the HR department and the HR field in general in terms of legislation etc. and even attempted to get the staff involved in Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects.

I have made one last attempt to apply for a higher level position. If I don’t get that position I’ve applied for, then I have truly tried my best to move on within the organisation. So if asked why I want to leave my current position, I guess my answer will be because I’ve exhausted all my options and it is time to move on.

I will always enjoy the work I do now (Communications) and it will always form part of any other job I do so I will never really leave the field but I really would like to work in the Human Resources field. I have a passion for people (human behaviour) – for understanding why they do what they do.

My passion for understanding human behaviour and why people do what they do has led me to study towards a BA Criminology degree through Unisa. The aim at the end is to work as a Criminologist/Profiler but while getting there I would like an opportunity to use my skills in the Human Resources Department.

In addition to the degree I’m busy with, I am also currently one of the trainees on Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA) Disabled Women Leadership Development Programme (DWLDP) being trained as a workshop facilitator to work within the disabled community helping them to understand their rights as disabled people in their communities and in the workplace.

While in training, I initiated a newsletter for our group as a means of sharing information with other trainees. I am responsible for sourcing content, editing content, layout/design and publishing via e-mail.

I am also involved in an advocacy and lobbying group called Women Demand Dignity (WDD) lobbying for the rights of men, women and children in the area of gender based violence. I am responsible for the social media aspect for the group and manage the Facebook page as well as our blog at: http://www.womendemanddignity.wordpress.com

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