Am I Too Honest…Or Not Honest Enough?
For those who don’t know, I got laid off recently. So for the last 15 days I’ve been back and forth with recruiters and interviewing pretty much all day. Last time I was looking for work, I owned interviews. I sat atop the world with the power to decide which agency would be blessed with my presence. It felt kinda awesome.
This time is different. A lot different. I’ve been on several interviews so far, and I’m pretty sure that instead of talking myself into job offers, I’ve been talking myself out of them. I’ve entirely forgotten how to interview.
I was reasoning it out a few days ago after an interview. At the beginning they seemed excited to have me in, but after hearing me answer questions for about a half hour, they seemed pretty eager to “wrap things up”. My thought: I’m too honest.
“Why do you want to work for this type of company?”
I gave them the truth: When I was looking for a new job a few months ago, I was trying to find the perfect opportunity. But since I’m not working, I’m just looking for something good. I’ve been on calls, I’ve been to interviews, I’ve looked at these other companies. And they’re good. They aren’t moving, they aren’t exciting…but they’re good.
But this company seems really cool, something I could see myself doing for years. [Insert anecdote about visions of possible future at company].
Too honest right? Actually, it might not be honest enough. The full honest answer: I don’t. Not specifically, anyway. I didn’t seek out this company, I answered a call from a recruiter for an opportunity that’s tech-forward and near home. You convinced me at the beginning of the interview that it could be much more than that, but – honestly – I just need a job.
Here are my priorities: (1) I want a job. (2) I want a good job. (3) I want to enjoy my work. Those are in order of importance. Any particular company can meet all three, but the most important thing is that I start working. So please hire me. I’m good, I promise. See? So, please don’t ask me questions which will lead me to either lie to you or torpedo my chances by being honest.
If you offer me a job, and I take it, I will work my ass off. I won’t have a deep abiding interest in the success of the company at first, because I just showed up. But I’m going to do my best work, because that matters to me, regardless of the scenario. Over time I’ll (probably) grow to care about the company and what we’re working on.
Our business relationship has to work a little bit more like a personal relationship. On a first (or second, or third) date, you don’t ask the person across the table why they love you. That’s crazy. So when a recruiter sends you Unemployed Developer #4, you probably shouldn’t ask why they want to work for your specific company.
So if you’ve got an opening for a front end developer, and you want one with skill, experience, and the class to admit that I think you’re cute and kinda interesting, but I don’t love you (yet), get in touch!