During an interview, the hiring manager is trying to decide if you will be a good fit for the department and the company. Your job is to find out it is a good fit for your work style and career, but it all depends on the type of employee you want to be. Are you one who just goes with the flow or one who wants to change the direction of the flow?
I was in a meeting with a couple of coworkers and our work-related discussion somehow took off on a tangent to one about job satisfaction. One coworker was brand new to the job, and the other, a fifteen-year veteran. I didn’t speak much as I was watching the other two go back and forth. What I heard was rather enlightening.
New guy: “You’ve been working here for a while, tell me the truth, what is your job satisfaction here?”
Veteran: “I’m never bored. I started here on the bottom rung, learned everything on the job, and worked my way up. I like it here, the work is challenging and I feel that I have made a difference.”
New guy: “It’s a bit different here, it’s definitely a smaller shop and I don’t know where to start. Our manager doesn’t give us much guidance, said for reviewing some of my documents and telling me to keep the content simple.”
Veteran: “That’s because you won’t get any guidance from the manager. You were hired as the expert and you are expected to own the role. When someone asks about the product or process you support, all eyes are on you to provide the answer. You’re empowered here.”
New guy: “So you’re saying, that I can create something from scratch because that process does not exist here.”
Veteran: “That’s right, you were hired to fill that gap, the manager is looking to you to for results. You have the chance to create something that’s never been done before. Take advantage of this culture, not many places give you the freedom to work with minimal supervision. And guess what, the company will adopt whatever you create as long as it is aligned with the organization’s goals.”
New guy: “I see, so you can create stuff for the better and the company will adopt it.”
Veteran: “Look, you need to decide if this is the right company for you. If you want to work in an environment where you just go with the flow and just be one of the drones, then this is not the company for you. If you want to be able to create change and have the feeling that what you do here actual matters, then this the place to do so.
Look at this guy (points at me), he’s taking full advantage of his entrepreneurial spirit to change things around here because he is empowered to do so. I know he’s taking any opportunity to strengthen up his resume as well, and I don’t blame him.”
New guy: “I understand now. I can dictate the terms here. That’s exciting.”
I moved from a company of about 80,000 employees to one of about 1,000 because I wanted to be more than just an employee ID number. During the interview, I knew the job would give me a chance to flex my creative and entrepreneurial muscles. For the first time, I had found a job where I am empowered to make decisions that can bring positive change. On the other end of the spectrum, it also means any wrong decisions I make can affect some parts of the business negatively.