Good Monday morning, Stephen,
I've been writing this newsletter for almost ten years now, and I'm asked for career advice all the time. I love when some little bit of advice really resonates for someone and makes a difference in their search -- and I love it when you reach out to let me know!
The consistently best bit of advice I've ever given, that has come back to me over, and over, and over again, is this:
When it gets to that part of the interview with your future boss where they ask, "well, do you have any questions for me?", say yes, and ask:
"How do I help you get a gold star on your review next year?"
This bit of advice has helped more people in more interviews than any other bit of advice I've shared over the years.
Well, the interview process lends itself to self-absorption. We spend so much of the time talking about ourselves that we forget that we sound like one of those people who only talks about themselves.
Or conversely, we become "job analysis engineers" and ask all sorts of questions about the job and reporting structure and how it fits in with the company's five-year plan and so on. I love getting questions from candidates in interviews, but I do have to admit I feel that they're not quite getting the point of a "face-to-face" interview when they pull out six pages of typed, single-spaced questions and promptly bury their nose in their papers without making eye contact.
We get so obsessed with the details of the job that we forget about the work.
Working together and being a good addition to the team mean being concerned with how you are making the team successful. And that means being concerned with how much you are helping to make your boss successful.
Asking this question shows that you have empathy. It shows that you have an interest in your boss' career and future success. It shows that you are not just a self-absorbed "what's-in-it-for-me" kind of person. And it shows that you know you are there to "give" as much as you are there to "get".
Subscribers like you say the interviewer's face lights up when you ask this question. I have heard time and time and time again from our six million subscribers how effective it's been in interviews.
The gold star question is an easy tip to implement in your job search: it's easy to do, easy to understand, and it's easy to measure.
And that makes it my best bit of career advice ever.
So thank you, Dear Readers, for trying out all my advice over the years, and for making this one my best.
I'm rooting for you!
Marc Cenedella, Founder Follow me on Google Circles: Marc Cenedella
P.S. And I'd like to thank my wife's law school classmate, Erin Abrams, now at Citigroup, for reminding me that the "silver star" question is just as important -- if you're interviewing people who will report to you, or any future colleagues who are a rank below you, ask them, too, how you can help them succeed next year on their review. Believe me, they will be very grateful.
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