I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy who likes to think about stuff.
I gave a speech on Thursday about my journey from corporate employee to independent worker. In the speech, I talked about not ever wanting to sit through an interview ever again. The questions interviewers ask can be so deflating. Do any of these questions sound familiar to you?
Why should we hire you?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What’s your biggest weakness?
I think most job seekers have answered these questions at least once in their lives. When you’re answering these questions, don’t you feel like a serf appearing before the king or queen? The interviewing is up on a hill, and you’re a lowly peasant, begging for crumbs.
I remember one experience like it was yesterday. It was for a project manager job. The company hired an outside HR firm to do onsite screenings. I got my suit dry cleaned, shined my shoes, and drove to the facility. I met the lady from the HR firm, and she asked me the standard HR questions, ending with “why should we hire you?” I remember sputtering out things like, “I’m dependable, I work well with others, and I always get the job done.” As I was leaving the facility, I wanted to vomit. That person who interviewed was not me. He was a graveling wuss. I hated the way I felt that day. Frankly, I felt that way after every interview I’ve ever had. Why should you hire me? Why should I work for you, I wanted to ask. But I didn’t. I was too afraid.
Afraid of what? That the company wouldn’t hire me? The company didn’t hire me anyway. I might as well have just been myself instead of trying to please a complete stranger. The main reason I’m excited to be an independent worker is that I’ll never have to answer those demoralizing questions ever again. Now people come to me because they need help. As long as I can help them, they don’t care about my weaknesses and my 5 year life plan. Truth be told, I have no clue what I’ll be doing in 5 years. And guess what? Neither does the majority of job seekers!
What would happen if job seekers were actually honest in their interviews? Companies couldn’t pass over all of us. They’d eventually have to start asking questions that matter and only those questions. Can you do the job? What have you done in the past that suggests that you can do the job? Are your salary demands in line with the salary budgeted for the position? If this were to happen, perhaps I’d consider becoming a corporate employee again. On second thought…nah!