When it comes to being interviewed, many candidates naturally are nervous, thinking over what questions they’ll be asked and making sure they are selling themselves in the interview. And similarly, the people doing the interviewing often forget that they not only need to be sold on the candidate but they also need to sell the role they’re hiring for. I’ve found more often than not, candidates neglect to “interview the company” they are meeting with and find out whether the organization is a good fit for them.
The fact is, our greatest and most valuable asset is our human capital. The way we invest that capital is up to us, and it is a responsibility we should not take lightly. Why invest your greatest asset in a company that won’t give you the best return? This is not about compensation at all; it is about the ability to do one’s best work and grow as a professional. A bad decision on investing one’s skills can lead to the biggest loss, which is unrecoverable – lost time! My grandfather used to remind me always that “time and tide” wait for no one. The opportunity to do great work that is lost because of a bad decision is too big to not take seriously.
In the end, you have to manage your career objectively. When you go on an interview, you need to interview your hiring manager and assess the company you are about to bet on, just as seriously as they’re interviewing you. Then very thoughtfully make the best investment of your talents.
Taking a new job always presents a risk – you are coming out of your comfort zone where you presumably have a certain level of security and influence. But a new role often presents opportunities to stretch yourself, make new connections and expand your knowledge. And most importantly, contribute to your industry at a greater level. When you face these decisions you have to have a clear vision on how you want to invest your stock.
To find out how the potential employer will invest in you, ask questions that get at the heart of what you’re looking for in your next role. Determine if the hiring manager has a clear and specific vision for the role. Is there consistency around the true north of the organization amongst all the people you are talking to? Is the company or team structured in a way that you can learn and grow? Are they asking insightful questions, or regurgitating generic interview questions that don’t really let them know what you’re about? You have to dig deeper about the role and structure to find out if this job will make your stock rise over time.
And don’t forget – the interview starts the moment you arrive in the parking lot. Look around – are the people engaged? Excited? Are you seeing employees passionately discuss topics, or are they closed off? Pay attention to the little cues you see while you’re there to get a sense if this would be a place that will raise your stock. And always research the company in great depth before you make your final decision. Read analyst reports, browse their job site, look at age of open jobs, find those in your extended network who may have insight into the company culture. Just as you wouldn’t invest your money in a stock without researching it in great depth, don’t invest your human capital in a company without a lot of due diligence.
Learning the skill of interviewing a hiring manager will in the end net you the best opportunities in your career.