So, you’ve got years of experience under your belt now. You talk fluently about your strategic role on a significant account, you’ve examples of how you’ve met all kinds of challenges and you’re only too happy to help your prospective employer understand how you tick all the boxes. You’ve met a range of people across the business, you’ve asked some insightful questions and it probably won’t be long before you’re approached with an offer that meets the salary expectations you’ve set. So let me ask you a question. Do you really want the job?
Alex Biggs, HR director at Just Health Communications, says: "It’s too easy to see the search for your next career move as a process where you can unlock a new job title and a better salary by being able to say yes. Yes, I have those skills. Yes, you should employ me. But who is saying yes to you? And can you honestly say that you’ve got a strong sense of how they approach the things that really matter to you?"
We all know that in this industry, strong senior talent get to choose their own agency destination. Yet all too often the interview candidate goes through the motions to secure an offer, instead of making the interview an in-depth discussion on fit and chemistry. At Just Health we believe it shouldn’t be about getting a job, but about getting the job.
The recruitment process often turns into a series of ultimatums. If you can’t demonstrate this skill, you can’t have the job. If you won’t offer me more money, I won’t accept it. But employment isn’t like that – it’s an ongoing relationship, a two-way conversation. Why shouldn’t the recruitment process reflect that? The best employment relationships are built on value: the things that your employer values, and the things that you value. Some of these are consistent – client relationship skills, pay, a team you get along with – and obviously they’re important. But it’s the other stuff that turns a good job into one that you love.
So really know what it is you want before the interview – and remind yourself why you want to leave your current employer. What do you want to be different? Are there specific brands that make you feel passionate? Do you want the opportunity to help set company direction and do they offer that? Are you considering life changes that make a flexible approach a must-have? Are you interested in pro bono work? Do you want to work in an environment where you’re encouraged to challenge the status quo?
All too often the interview candidate goes through the motions to secure an offer instead of making the interview an in-depth discussion on fit and chemistry
If your potential employer answers ‘yes’ to any of the above, test them (nicely) for tangible examples. As PR people, we all instinctively want to tell you we have exactly what you need, but you need to make sure you fully understand what’s on offer and that they fully understand what makes you tick – be honest from the outset and expectations can be managed in both directions. Beware answers such as, "Oh we’re thinking about doing pro bono work in the future," or, "You could come in and help us explore the flexible working concept." You want the interview to turn very quickly from Q&A into a collaborative discussion and you just need the confidence to spend some time working out what you’re looking for and the skill to talk about that in an open, conversational way.
Getting the chemistry right
Once you’re clear about exactly what you’re looking for, think about the interview as an information gathering exercise. Use your experience as a springboard to probe behind the employer branding. If the issue isn’t a ‘red line’ for you, a general conversation about the pros and cons will stand you in better stead than a yes or no question.
By working somewhere that shares your values and principles you can get more satisfaction, reward and recognition. So which is it? The red pill or the blue pill?
At Just Health we’re about getting the chemistry right and we champion our core values of confidence, collaboration and curiosity. We want the talent who work with us to fulfil their own potential here, not just operate as another cog in another wheel.
We pride ourselves on having a company of individuals united in their curiosity about how they can work together to explore new territory and always looking to learn new things.
Intrigued? Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org to enjoy a unique recruitment process.
Julia Kirby is a director at Just Health Communications