Reflections on Job Applications

I've been applying for jobs like crazy lately.

Before I started applying, though, I really spent some time narrowing down on what a dreamy day job looks like to me. I know what I must have in a job. I know what would be nice in a job. I know what I DON'T want in a job. I know what I want to do and what I want my team to be like. And so I'm applying to jobs that fit my dreamy day job criteria.

And during this time, I've realized a thing or two about job applications.

Most of them ask questions like, "Tell us about why you'd be good at this job."

I can brag for a thousand years about my skills. I can tell you about past experiences that make me a good fit. I can give you testimonials from clients that love me and my work. I can list my successes. I can write a bad ass cover letter in a fun and quirky voice that make me sound like the ultimate people-person.

But wouldn't the real revealing question be, "Which qualification do you NOT quite meet and how you would you overcome it?"

Now answering THAT question would take a bit of vulnerability.

I think as a recruiter or hiring manager, that question would really be more important in the long run. I know that if someone's applying, they probably can do the job. Are they all going to be the best at it? Probably not. But ultimately, isn't it about whether the applicant can grow and expand with your team?

Asking an applicant what qualification they don't meet is asking them to be a little vulnerability and offer a little bit of transparency. It's asking them to reflect on their weaknesses. And then by asking how they'd overcome it, you're changing a potentially negative thing into a positive. Show me that you can recognize your weaknesses, grow from them, and become a better team member. Tell me where you know you can grow and how you're going to do it. Tell me that you want to make yourself a better person, a better employee, a better team member. Tell me that you WANT to learn new things.

Now THAT is what I'd want to hear.