Basic requirements: A candidate’s search for a qualified employer

Since the fall of the economy, candidates have been fighting to find work. There have been endless days of restructuring resumes, checking job boards, dead-end interviews, and rejections. Rejections come in all forms: no response, a generic e-mail that gives no reason, a quick e-mail/phone call to let you know they went for a more “qualified candidate”– and that’s that. Another defeat.

After this sets in we start to try to find ways to portray ourselves to be the “best fit”– we update resumes and professional sites, we research interview tips to make sure we say all the right things, we try to obtain any experience we can just to fit those requirements the company looks for. And yet, even after we’ve exhausted ourselves with all of our efforts to be “perfect”, it didn’t make a difference. We are still jobless to the point where we consider taking anything just to keep ourselves financially afloat.

My question is: why are we trying so hard only to fit what a company is looking for?

I feel that employers should be considered partners. You do for them, and they do for you- that is a good relationship that will be beneficial to both parties and will allow both to progress. So why are we trying so hard to only fit their needs and completely push aside our own?

Ideally, before the workforce (or lack-there-of) had stomped on any inkling of individual dreams and expectations, we had once had a vision of what our perfect work situation would be. If you completely abandon those, how do you expect to find that one company that makes you want to be committed to them for years to come? Personally, I think that work should be more than just getting a check to pay the bills. It should ignite passion and inspiration. It should make you believe that you are there for a reason, that your effort is recognized, and make you feel like you are irreplaceable.

Perhaps that is a little too naïve and optimistic but if companies are setting the bar high for their future employees, why shouldn’t you do the same for your future employers? It’s a big world out there. There has to be somewhere that could respect your values and maybe even encourage them… so why would you stop until you find it? Don’t settle for less than you deserve. This is your life.

I’m sure you’re used to seeing the requirements on a job posting, why not create your own “employer posting” with your basic requirements and preferred requirements? These things could help you strive for something and potentially ensure your overall long-term happiness with an employer. This could also help you find ways to “interview” the employer rather than have them running the show. Your work is a good portion of your life so it’s important to consider what you’re willing to commit to.

So here’s a shout-out to future employers! Here is a list of my current requirements (basic and preferred) for my next employer:

Requirements:

• I am seeking a company that creates a workplace in which the employees feel like they have purpose and that each employee’s contribution makes the biggest difference, no matter what level or job function.
• I want a workplace that promotes unity and allows all levels and departments to network and function as one team towards its goals, rather than keep everyone siloed in their departments.
• I want leaders that ignite passion and inspire employees to strive to be the best version of themselves, both personally and professionally.
• I want a company that is full of open and curious minds and is willing to listen to suggestions from employees.
• Even more so, I want a company that encourages innovation and will take a chance on things that “can’t be done” because they’ve “never been done” to prove to the world that YES! IT CAN BE DONE! After all, how is business going to progress if no one is willing to take a chance?
• I want managers who are invested in their employees and will take the time to help them grow and help them move forward in their career paths.
• I want a company that tests traditional workplaces by trying alternative workplace styles.
• I want a company that promotes continuous learning and allows employees the opportunity to really find what they’re good at or find something they love to do.
• I want my employers to celebrate individualism and welcome different insights and approaches from these employees.
• I want an employer that let’s employees see a future rather than a dead-end.

These requirements are just to name a few things that I’m looking for. I want a company that actually has a good vision, culture, and mission and follows through with that. So many times I’ve been attracted to companies with wonderfully stated visions and missions only to be disappointed by the reality of it. I want a company that is REAL.

I know that if I find a company like this, I will commit and work hard for them. I will want to grow with them because they will allow me to grow. I would want to be the best employee I could be because they create a positive workplace and do not put a limit on what I can do. Unfortunately, this type of mentality and attitude cannot be reflected on a resume or application… so here are the things I wish I could say. I know what type of person I am and could be…. But those reviewing applications and resumes may not. I’m sure there are plenty others out there that are the same way and it’s a shame to think of all of the amazing employees a company has missed out on because of their rigid requirements and hiring practices.

Maybe I won’t find all the things I want out of an employer but I hope to find an employer that does have some of these things. Like I said, It’s a big world out there and there is bound to be somewhere that understands my values and views. And if I can never find it…. I guess I’ll just have to create it 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Basic requirements: A candidate’s search for a qualified employer

  1. That’s a fabulous idea! I completely agree with you about looking for a company that you enjoy and helps foster your growth. Luckily, I happened to stumble across my ideal company culture, but I talk to so many people (friends, family and candidates) who either just want “a job” or dread the one they’ve got. Work should be a rewarding experience that enhances your life, as well as pay the bills. Great idea on creating an employer listing.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Emily. I’m glad that you realize culture is important and have found what you were looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t think people realize the importance of this until they’re stuck in another job they dislike. I agree that work should be rewarding. I want to be excited to go to work rather than just go through the motions and pray for the weekend to get closer. It would probably help people stop job hopping so much too.

      For example, my friend told me today that his manager at CreateSpace (Amazon.com) is setting up time for him on a weekly basis to shadow with software developers at the company. She realized he was recently going back to school for computer science and knew that he would prefer to stay with the company if the opportunity was there for him to advance to software development. It was pretty inspiring to hear that his manager cared enough to figure out a way to get him mentored while he goes to school and works there. It also showed him how much she valued him as an employee to try to find ways to present opportunities for him so he didn’t feel like he needed to go elsewhere. It’s things like this that make a huge difference in just having an employee and having a committed employee.

  2. Alejandro Oviedo

    I feel completely represented by your post Ashley. “I would want to be the best employee I could be…” may shock more than one manager but it’s true. I also encourage that working in what you like and you have passion is one of the most important things. Gartner himself give this words in an advice.

    1. After reading a lot about gen y, I think a lot of us are looking for something like this…, something meaningful that we’d feel good about committing to. Could you imagine how companies would be if they accepted more candidates that believed in what they were about, and in turn, commited to be the best version of themselves in regard to work?

  3. Richard

    I don’t know who you are, where you are, what you are (in terms of profession)…but from someone who is going through what you have/are going through, BRAVO!

    1. Thank you, Richard! Consider me the voice of some job seekers. This view might not be for everyone but I hope I help individuals who are a little lost and need some guidance. Sometimes job
      Seekers, both new grads and older generations thrown back into the market, might not know what they’re looking for. I’ve learned that it’s not just about the role, but finding a company you connect with…. It makes a huge difference!

      1. Richard

        I actually had a nice, long, deep and meaningful reply all written up and then did something to loose it all. Myself, my brother in law and my cousin are all in the same boat so there’s a lot of empathy!

        The gist of my original reply was along the lines of the fact that employers, in this market at least, are looking for excuses NOT to hire someone, rather than reasons to hire them. Gone are the days of “you seem like a bright, astute individual…come in on Monday and we’ll see how you go”.

        Adversity to risk, short term focus, education inflation and increasing costs of employment (taxes, superannuation/pension, leave entitlements, etc) all weigh into the reasons why these barriers into a company’s inner circle are getting higher and higher.

        My grandfather used to say about his superiors when he was in the army “don’t let the bastards get to you”. Stand your ground. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, there is no reason why an employer should. At the end of the day interviewing is like dating. No girl/guy likes a push-over.

      2. I do agree that employers are looking for reasons not to hire someone. They make a criteria that is nearly impossible to match 100 % unless you’re really good at being a believable liar 🙂

        I do compare the interview process like dating, as well. However, I think interviews are more like interrogations now than a “get to know you” conversation.

      3. No(even though I would love to visit). I live in the United States. However, I have been talking to people in Australia and they seem to be coming across some similar problems as we have here. I’m not sure if Australia is starting to adopt some of the rigid hiring criteria and interviewing practices, but the Australian job seekers seem to be new to this type of situation and don’t really know how to make it work in their favor. Not sure if this is everyone or just new people in the market since it’s changed. I guess this all seems to be pretty universal.

    1. Richard- great find! I loved it. You must have been reading my mind because I was actually thinking of writing a post today about the qualities of a good leader. This will be a good source.

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