When you are trying to figure out your next career move, the company match is more important than job match. This is because the people who are happiest at work are doing what they do best, every day.
You can be a janitor and use your strengths, and you can be an associate at one of the very best law firms and not use your strengths. This is not about your IQ, it’s about your core personality, and matching the needs of your core personality to a company’s needs. “Don’t use past skills to get a future job” says, positive psychologist Senia Maymin. “Use your strengths. A job should be more about what excites you and less about what you’ve done”
This is good advice, but it requires having a solid understanding of yourself and of what companies have to offer.
A book I’ve been waiting all year for is Recruit or Die by Chris Resto, Ian Ybarra and Ramit Sethi. This book tells companies how to recruit young talent. (The first thing I like about this book is that now we can stop arguing about if employees hold the stronger hand in the recruiting process. They do. And every time people tell me that I’m nuts for saying that employees are forcing corporate America to change, I can just point to this book.)
Recruit or Die explains that the companies who get the best employees year after year do so by selling themselves more than selling the job, and the recruiting process is a time to show the candidate who the company is. When there are tons of candidates for every job, only top-tier firms do this. In a market like today, where workers are in high demand, any company that will survive has to do it.
As a candidate, this book is a peek into the secret world of your suitors. You should understand the range of ways that forward-thinking companies recruit so you know how to judge the company you’re talking to. This will help you to match your strengths properly with a company’s.
One of the most important things to notice in the recruiting process is that the best companies don’t use money as a recruiting tool. It’s not that they think you don’t care about money. But they know they cannot differentiate themselves with money. Because you probably have a lot of friends who make the same amount of money you do; your pay range is not going to make you feel significantly different about your life because the happiness that money brings you is always relative to the people around you.
Recruit or Die is also gives us a good way to understand career possibilities. For example, the book recommends that companies do things like send you a congratulatory card or gift basket when you finally take the job. This is small, yes, but it sets the tone for gratitude going forward – and a culture of gratitude can almost single-handedly make a great work experience.
So how do you get to know your strengths? Here are two tests to take – either one will tell you your strengths and each takes about 30 minutes: Signature Strengths Questionnaire and Gallup StrengthsFinder .
And how do you figure out what company is a good match for you? You know how you go on dating sites and before you answer any ads, you read a bunch to see what the possibilities are? Use Recruit or Die like Match.com and get educated on what the market has to offer before you offer yourself.