This last year has stretched us in many ways and I have observed new levels of humanness and vulnerability expressed in even quite formal business settings. Now, mental health awareness is openly discussed at work and movements such as #thisismywholeself encourage a more holistic expression of ourselves in the workplace. How to use your humanness in your job search? It can be a real advantage.
Your mistakes can showcase your strengths
Be prepared to own mistakes at work and demonstrate how they have grown you shows your humanness. Importantly, interviewers aren’t looking to trip you up with these questions but rather explore how you have grown as a result of a problem that you may have wholly/partly caused but then rectified. What qualities did you use to fix the problem and how did that help your self-awareness?
Inject humanness into your job search communication
Use human channels of communication. Of course we rely very heavily on email and Linkedin. Where possible, if you can nudge in a VC as opposed to a phone call or somehow move your interaction to a less formal medium because you inject humanness into your job search. As an example, I needed to have a briefing call to set the scene for a candidate this week. She shrewdly suggested a Zoom call, sent me a link and we jumped on. Forty-five minutes later we had built up serious rapport. All recruiters are human and are likely doing their job at least in part to have these personal interactions.
Be vulnerable sharing your values in an interview process
More than ever companies talk about a purpose and culture uniting behing that purpose. My own employer, is to “create a positive human future through technology driven solutions”. We talk about innovation all day long. Unless you come to an interview saying you share in that vision it will be tricky to see you as fit. Don’t discount this language as flowery; it is what will set you apart.
Hand a prospective employer or line manager the keys to who you are
What do you stand for and want to do? What projects are you good at? If you give a good tight answers to this you can inspire confidence in a manager that you are more likely to deliver. Your succinct response here sets you apart with new colleagues as well:
“If you want to influence others, the most important thing you can do is be a living example of the principles, ideas and faith that you advocate”
A lack of feedback may not be a reflection of you
Ask for feedback and chase it but know that the person at the other end is just that, a person. In this refreshing take on the role of a search consultant David Boehmer he explains the recruiters angle on the Irelaunch podcast. Firstly, if recruiters fastidiously attend to all queries and requests for feedback, it is nigh on impossible to do the job of designing and launching roles. Secondly, we cannot be out in the market, creating opportunities if we are continually desk-based getting back to everyone. Just know, it may not be about you!
Keep your network fresh
To me this is where our humanness and vulnerability can really count for big advances in the job search. Again David Boehmer talks about having all of the conversations that might no nowhere. Having a service mentality in your interactions is smart. Who can you help? what introductions can you faciliitate? If your job search is lacking energy, who in your network can you catch up with, with no agenda in mind except to hear how they are? The concept of vouching is powerful. If I am giving an overview of a candidate to a hiring manager, I will always start with a note on who knows them in the business.
What is Your Human Response to Inclusion and Diversity?
Talk about how it affects you personally because this shows you have“skin in the game” to change things.
Maybe you have four daughters, maybe you have felt unfarily overlooked in the past. Please tell me about it so I know it is on your personal agenda and you are likely to contribute to our own efforts.
Humanness in the job search. Rather than an overexpression of emotion what I am suggesting is that you share more of yourself as an individual. Your very person is your unique selling point and is a key trading tool in our war for talent. As Goldie Chan says on Forbes it could be the difference between the reactions: “Who are you?” and “thank you for being here” in your career.