Photo: Darwin Bell
So, you need a job and are eyeing up prospects. It can be a very stressful but exciting time. You find some interesting options and start to envision yourself working at XYZ corp., imagining what your life will be like if you just get that job. It’s kind of like falling in love.
But wait, why are you applying to that job anyway? It’s important to ask yourself this question and really answer it honestly. Like most important tasks, this one is easy to skip (especially considering the work required to assemble, submit, and keep track of all those applications). So many people submit thoughtless applications, so you can really help yourself by asking hard questions along the way. It will prepare you for the eventual interview and could save you a ton of time spent submitting pointless applications.
Are you in love with the company’s reputation?
Considering how besieged we are with advertising and marketing campaigns, it’s understandable to think that the brand we see on TV, read about online, and hear about from friends will become our most-wanted job. A good reputation is certainly not a bad thing, but make sure your application isn’t an “impulse buy.” Be sure that the company’s mission matches its image, and be sure you’re background is a good fit. No matter how much you like or respect a company, if you’re not a fit they won’t like you back.
Is it because the job pays well?
Ah, the old paycheck dilemma – if you’re staring bills and a shallow bank account in the face, can you really be that picky? Well, yes and no. On the yes side, you need to be picky because submitting an application for a job you’re not qualified for is a waste of everyone’s time (yes, I’m going to keep referencing this because WAY too many people submit wasted their time submitting applications for jobs they aren’t qualified for. Don’t believe me? Here’s what one recruiter said.) Plus, if you submit too many job applications where you aren’t qualified, you’ll start to make a name for yourself at that company. I’ve heard several instances where recruiters will flag repeat unqualifieds and that stigma is attached to all subsequent applications.
On the “no, don’t be picky” side – look, I’m not going to judge someone that takes a job they don’t like because there’s a paycheck. Bills are bills, debt is debt and you have to pay them. If money is all you want, that’s up to you. If you end up hating the job, chances are good that you’ll change your tune after a while. But in the interim, while you learn more about who you are and what you want, nothing wrong with grabbing a paycheck. Just beware that many a lifetime-employee began with the mentality that, “this is only temporary.”
There are countless reasons why you might apply to a given company. The point is – you need to know why, not just to answer your interviewer with some stock reply, but to put your best foot forward and economize your time. If you’re honest with yourself about why you’ve chosen to apply at as certain firm, you’ll either realize it’s for the wrong reasons or be validated in your decision. Either way, by asking hard questions up front, you’ll have done yourself a huge favor in the long run.