What they are trying to do is to connect with you in some way and, at the same time, something to evaluate you with to see if you are an A performer or you’re someone who goes to the job, goes home, and forgets about everything. They’re not looking to find out if you’re a member of “the resistance,” or a member of the Republican National Committee as part of your part-time or volunteer work. What they are trying to do is to see if there is something that can be translated into work-related stuff.
I know there are things in terms of organizing that can translate but you open up the possibility of being rejected based upon politics or faith, or other things. When you bring in religious organizations, when you bring in political activism… Stuff along those lines that don’t serve you. It may be true. Which would you rather be? Someone who is right or do you want to look at something a little bit differently and get the result?
What I suggest people do proactively is to think about the things they do outside of work and tell the story of being actively involved so that you demonstrate something congruent with the work that you do.
For example, the obvious case is, “What I do (this is a sales person’s story) is compete in martial arts. I work with the sensei; we test regularly; it is fabulous for my “edge” to be in a situation where I am constantly competing.” You understand why that story works and, yes, I could’ve gone into a more elaborate story, but, I just want to make the simple point that there are things that you do in your personal life that demonstrate the right tone for answering this question.
If you think being a Mom doesn’t show that you can be well organized, that you have empathy and care for people that you are interacting with, you’re missing the point of all this. This is a situation where you can bring out a great quality that the employer wants to see in a new hire and put it right on the surface in a very subtle way so that it is a part of your life and you demonstrate authenticity, all in answering this question.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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