Although we should think about what we want from our next job, even if we just start with all the things we don’t have at the moment, we also need to think about what the employer wants from us. This is the only way to think about interviews and a good way to prep for starting day once we’re appointed.
In the last mailout we looked at how it’s okay to have a clear idea of what we’re looking for from a future employer. Recruitment should be a two-way street and the right employer will be impressed to see we’ve thought about what we want out of working for them over and above getting paid.
What the employer expects falls into two parts. The first is what’s in the job description. The second is what every workplace requires but what no-one usually tells us about until we either read the policy and procedure section of the staff handbook – or screw up.
A decent job description should outline exactly what a role entails and what the employer will consider as ‘doing things well’. We should receive it before we apply and we ought to be able to depend on it telling us exactly what they want. We can pick out where our strengths fit well and big these up as we apply. It should also prompt questions we can ask at interview about support and training if there’s anything not so sure about on the list.
We should always re-read the job description before attending interview. And it’s not a bad idea to do so again just before starting the job.
The policies and procedures are usually pretty standard amongst most firms. When delivering our 7 Signs Training to jobseekers, it’s something we explore from the employer’s point of view. We take it in turns to think about what we’d do if we had to challenge someone on poor performance, bad attitude or having a personal hygiene problem. Most of it’s common sense, with a bit of tact and assertive language thrown in, but we have a light-hearted chat through what employers expect of us all.
Sometimes the law kicks in and, as a boss in this role play, the scope for how we would prefer to deal with something is taken out of our hands. We look at discrimination as well as health and safety and explore how the rules apply to both employer and employee. The law should protect both sides too. We can expect our boss to abide by these rules but they will also expect the same of us.
At interview, we can demonstrate we know what the job expects of us and should focus on that. It is worth thinking about what it takes to be a good employee in general, though, as it’s a good idea to show that whenever we can. It might be the only difference between an answer we give and what another candidate says.
Jeff Mitchell is editor of Quids in! money management magazine and author of I’m Ready – 7 signs that show you’re right for the job.