Have you stopped yourself from applying for jobs because you decide you won’t like the company? Or because you re-read the job description and think there’s too much in it you won’t like doing?
You’re not alone! Many people make decisions about potential employment opportunities based on very little actual knowledge of the job or company.
Chances are you know almost nothing about the company or the job – just what you may read in the job description, or even what you’ve read on the employer’s website. That’s just the tip of the mountain of information you could get if you actually had an interview with the company.
I believe it’s better to gather as much information as you can before making a decision. If you don’t apply for a job, you’ll never know if it could have been the one for you.
Most people I coach talk themselves out of applying because they are afraid they will get into another situation similar to the one they are leaving or have left. So fear is making their decision for them.
Other people talk themselves out of applying because they won’t want the job anyway, so why bother applying. This is projecting into the future and anticipating a negative result.
To both I say: Apply! And hope to get an interview.
When you apply for a job, you’re not committing yourself to anything. You are simply submitting an application. There is no guarantee you will get selected for an interview. If you don’t, you know you were right – it’s not the right job for you. If you do get an interview, you don’t have to go. I recommend you do go, because you get a chance to learn more about the company and the position. You’ll be able to ask as well as answer questions and get solid information – facts as well as human interaction that can feed your “gut feelings” – a useful source of information.
At no point are you committed to taking a job – not even if you get through several interviews and receive an offer. By the time you’ve been through several interviews, you will have a good sense of the job, the company, its culture, the kind of people who work there, and whether the work and environment are a good fit for you.
Think about the job search process as a conversation.
- The employer puts out a job posting that essentially is saying “hey we’d love to talk to some people about this need we have. Let us know if you’re interested in talking to us about it.”
- When you apply, you’re responding by saying “I’d love to talk to you about your need and how I can fill it, based on my prior expertise and experience. And your company sounds really interesting, too; I’d like to learn more about you.”
- When you get selected for an interview, the employer is saying, “let’s have a conversation about the job and whether you really are someone who can solve our problems and help us reach our goals.”
- Your acceptance of the interview is saying “yes, I’d like to talk with you.”
- The interview – whether on the phone or Skype or in person – is literally a conversation. Some interviewers don’t like to answer questions or have a list of questions they have to go through for every candidate. Try not to let that faze you – still ask your questions, as a sign that you want to learn more. Subsequent interviews are continuations of the conversation.
- And a job offer is saying “we so enjoyed our conversations with you, we’d like to talk with you regularly.”
- When you accept, you’re saying “I would, too.”
It’s that simple. You are people getting to know each other to see if you want to hang out with each other 5 days a week. And that means the conversation can end at any time either party decides to end it.
Allow yourself to have the conversation. Apply for the job. Gather information. Decide later.