Job seekers are often asked… “What do you want?” or “What are you looking for?”
Those sound like legitimate questions… and they are. However, the reality is that a potential employer isn’t really all that concerned about what you want! They know what they want and need for a particular position and they are trying to determine if you’re the one that can do it best for them. Sure, they would ideally like to get someone that loves their work, and feels fulfilled in their job. However, those concerns are secondary to getting their tasks accomplished.
For many job seekers, that sounds cold, and they never thought of their job search from that perspective. When networking, or in an interview, their response to the “What do you want” question usually focuses on their own interests, ambitions, and desires… whether it matches the opportunity or not.
Should you give up pursuing the things you really want? Of course not! Carefully targeting the kinds of companies, teams, and positions that interest you is a key part of creating a fulfilling career and an effective job search.
So, does that mean it’s best to be disingenuous, or make something up? Not at all! What it does mean, is that you should be sure to think about which of your interests, desires, strengths and abilities best match the opportunity at hand, and help them connect the dots!
When you prepare your “elevator speech”, craft your interview answers, or have casual conversations with networking contacts in your job search, always think in terms of…
What desires in a job do I have, that would potentially be of interest to the person I’m talking to?
You can be sure that when they ask the question, they are thinking…
Is this person interested in anything I need or know about?
If their conclusion from your answer is “No”, then it’s unlikely the networking discussion or the interview process will go much further.
A job search mindset is really about adopting an employers’ mindset! It’s the same difference between having an “Objective” at the top of your resume, or a professional summary. The former is all about what you want, the latter is about what you have that satisfies what the employer wants. Which one do you think will generate greater interest?
In your job search, the next time you’re asked “What do you want?” …be prepared with an answer that will show that you are what they want!
(This article was originally written for www.job-hunt.org)