The Real Job Interview

So my last post was about honesty and partly about work. Up until recently I was doing numerous job interviews and while I had no occasion to outright lie to anyone discretion in what I told people did come into play quite often. I feel like setting the record straight and on this occasion, letting discretion go by the wayside.

“Why did you apply here?”

What I said: Generally something highlighting what seemed best about the company based on my research, qualities that indeed I found some virtue in. I’d also point out any strong qualification matches.

What I didn’t say: I wanted a job to pay the bills, they were advertising and it seemed plausible I could do the work. I didn’t pick them out or think it was my dream job, it was just a place where I thought they might hire me for work I know how to do.

“Where do you see your career 3 years from now?”

What I said: I came up with an answer based on what I knew about the work they were hiring for plus some elevation in in status. I do tend to get promoted in most jobs so it was more about a practical prediction than an aspiration.

What I didn’t say: What I’d like to do is work for myself, set my own agenda and be in charge. I was tired of company politics and watching people above me in the chain of command make bad decisions. The thought of more of that was depressing. It was getting asked this question and considering how I felt about it that pushed me towards deciding to finally go into business for myself because it is where I wanted to be in 3 years.

“Why did you leave your last job?”

What I said: I was laid off due to budget cuts. That is all I was told at the time. I sometimes added that my reviews and those of my employees were all good and the lay-off was a surprise.

What I didn’t say: I lost the game of office politics too many times and was stuck in a rut. I felt like I was a pain in the ass questioning what I thought were a lot of bad decisions. I had no future because the IT department I worked for had a very different idea of how software should be made and didn’t value or use my talents well. Basically I had a dim future there and a hefty price tag so I was selected when they had to make cuts. I should have seen it coming but I really felt all the good work I did and was doing day to day kept me safe. I got good reviews as did all my employees and word from my boss was generally positive. The people it turns out most adamant in selecting me for the cut pretty much had nothing to do with my day to day work.

I feel lucky that I had the financial wherewithal to walk away from the job hunt and into self employment. It may not last, but I’m bound and determined to find a means to make my own way on my own terms and that frees me to say what I think more and worry what others think of it less.

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