Hands up if you are a recruiter or hiring manager and the phrase “I just want a job” makes you want to sigh in exasperation. Or slam your head into a desk. Or jam a pencil in your ear. Or… you know where I’m going with this. OMG, to me that phrase, well, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.
I spend a good portion of my time interacting with job seekers and college students and one of the first things I ask is “What are you looking for?”. If the only answer I get back is “I just want a job” I feel the burden of the conversation switch to me. Instead of giving me a real answer I can work with (Because really, what kind of answer is that?), now I have to start digging into your past, and your likes and dislikes, and pull the information out of you. Trust me when I say that this is not what you should be making recruiters and managers do.
- It’s obvious. OF COURSE you want a job. As nice and funny as I am, you probably wouldn’t be so eager to speak to me if you weren’t.
- Help me, help you. As a recruiter, I want to find the best people for my openings. I want people who are bright, motivated, and hard working. But I also don’t want to put someone in a role that they have no interest in or desire to do. So if you don’t know what you want to do, how exactly can I start helping you? I don’t know your mind and heart. I don’t know what kind of work motivates you and what would make you quit after a day. And if you don’t know that about yourself, much less are able to articulate that to others, how do you expect me to figure it out?
- You may want any job, but not every job wants you. I get it, you have bills to pay. When you are unemployed any paycheck is better than no paycheck. That may be enough of a reason for you to accept any job that comes along but as an employer, that is not enough of a reason to hire you. I don’t need just anybody for my open position, I need the right somebody. And if you can’t tell me why you are that right somebody then I am going to keep looking.
If you are looking for work, you need to know what kind of work you want. You may say you want “any job”, but we both know that’s not true or practical. Even if you are looking at several different types of jobs at once (such as customer support, administrative, and banking), you need to be able to articulate why those areas interest you and what you bring to the table that would make you successful in each of those roles. That is the kind of answer I am looking for and that is the kind of answer that will get you noticed. So the next time I speak with you, I will expect to hear a real answer.