For most of 2015-2017, I was employed by Employment Technologies, headquartered in central Florida. As marketing director, I spoke confidently about how our testing products reduced the cost of turnover related to ill-suited hires. I engaged in conversations about hiring for skills over attitude, and promoted the merits of matching the right people to the right jobs.

Last fall, now living in Indianapolis, I made the decision to change jobs and join the team of an area nonprofit. As an extrovert, I missed the routine of going to an office and interacting with staff members face to face. The Employment Technologies crew understood, wished me well, and even sent me flowers on the first day of my new job.

As of January 8th, I’m back on board with Employment Technologies, while still living in and loving Indianapolis. Because life is one heck of a teacher, I want to share with you three lessons learned related to the hiring process. My hope is to provide food for thought for hiring managers, and to prompt clarity about potential next steps in your own professional journey.

Job Descriptions are Foundational to Gaining Clarity

Have you heard the one about the shoemaker’s daughter not having any shoes? Well, that was me! I’ve written and edited numerous posts about the importance of having clear, updated job descriptions – both for the employer as well as the potential employee.

I accepted a job without a clear job description.

“You should have known better.”

You’re right. Well, at least I had clarity about what I wanted the job to be.

I’m here to encourage you to take a proactive approach to understanding a potential employer’s expectations. A clearly written job description is an excellent place to start.

From an employer’s perspective, a properly prepared and current job description links the past, present, and future. In my opinion, hiring managers are smart to consider this document as a first step in the onboarding process.

If you’re not given a job description prior to an offer, temper your enthusiasm. If job descriptions seem to be a mere formality, ask follow-up questions. How are duties and responsibilities communicated? What measures are used to evaluate progress? Will you have a 30-day review? 60-day review?

Clarity is your best friend. Don’t leave it out of any step, any conversation. Ever.

Respect the Role of Skills and Abilities

When traveling overseas, my husband’s doctorate of law was mistaken for a medical doctorate. Big difference. Once, I engaged a pastry chef to cater a lunch. Not a huge skill gap, but apparently, big enough.

One of the reasons my new job wasn’t a fit was the lack of skill alignment.

Prior to pursuing your next position, take a personal inventory of your skills and abilities. While it might be fun to ask your friends for their input, I recommend using professional tools designed for this purpose. You’ll find many options online, some complimentary, yet even a reasonable expense is an investment in your professional development.

With this understanding, you’re ready to properly evaluate any job and ask meaningful questions. Are all job tasks equally weighted? What’s the emphasis? Does the description list technical writing and you’re more of a creative soul? Trust me, it makes a difference.

Mistakes Happen

I knew this.

Shortly after I realized my career misstep, I read this quote, “Sometimes I win. Sometimes I learn.”

Maintaining a teachable spirit frees us from blistering self-evaluation that can derail future plans. I encourage you to stay in the game! If your career plans take a hard turn, consider my mother’s advice and simply ‘stay in the day.’

I am grateful for every person I encountered during my brief time with the organization. I grew in my understanding of my new Midwestern city and state and will always treasure examples of selfless service that I witnessed in our community. All good.

Returning to Employment Technologies is also a gift. My colleagues are smart people, who take pride in helping businesses hire with confidence. If I can use my skills and abilities to attract new business, I’m here to serve. A little bit older, and I hope, a bit wiser.

And yes, I’m still working remotely, though I’ve made structural changes to my work day. In a follow up blog post, I’ll share about my new co-working space and personal insights I have about engaging a distributed staff.


Why Hiring For Attitude Doesn’t Work

Strategic Planning: How Can a Skills Inventory be Used for Strategic HR Planning?