You are always interviewing for your next role

I have spent much time in the past 2-3 years using the StrengthsFinder tool from Gallup, based on the research of Tom Rath.  While I also subscribe to the developmental processes espoused by CCL where you identify and focus on your weaknesses, I also believe that understanding and leveraging your strengths is of great value.  One of my top five strengths is connectedness.  This essentially means that I have an ability to see how things are connected, even when there may not be an obvious connection.

Because of this view, this strength, this bias, I believe that what we do, what we have done, and what we will do all has a purpose.  My career is an example of that and those who don’t know me always ask how someone with a degree in Engineering Physics ended up in the Talent Acquisition and Talent Development world.  It is crystal clear to me.

Life is a continual flow of experiences and scenarios.  For me, each of these has some connection and because of this I tell others that I have always been interviewing for my next job or my next project.  You never know when the person you meet today or the person you met last month will play a part in what you do tomorrow.  Let me share a few examples of this to support my assertion.

While working in manufacturing in 1993 our firm went through the Tennessee Quality Award process.  During this time we had a site visit by a group and one of those on the visitation team had just earned her doctorate from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.  I told her about my current role in the training and development field and she shared how I could greatly benefit from one of the degree programs at Peabody.  I entered school there in 1994 and earned an M.Ed. degree in 1996.  That degree has opened so many doors for me and it was the singular most important reason I was able to shift my work from operations to Talent Development in 1994.

Fast forward to 2008; at this time I was a volunteer for a career transition group at Brentwood United Methodist Church here in the Nashville area.  One of the clients I met was a young woman with an HR background in transition.  I did not play a direct role in her finding a job, but she did remember me and thought enough of the work we did to call me when she had a need for an external search firm where she was working.  The call came about one year after we first met.  How could I have known that my work in one sphere of my life would affect my “paying” job in another?

Move ahead to 2012; during this time I was working for a client who sought a leader for their presence in a large Southeastern city.  One of my candidates interviewed with this firm and they wanted to make an offer, but some circumstances came up that prevented this from occurring.  I kept in contact with this person and we kept the dialogue going.  Earlier this year another client had a similar role in the same city.  I reached out to this same individual and this time there was a fit.  Again, the value of one earlier role, two years earlier, one that was unsuccessful, led to another role that was successful with a much better opportunity.

While I see how my connectedness plays a role in all this, I also have a strong faith in God that helps me know that He plays a much greater role in the complete picture.  I am but a pawn, at best, in the chess game of life, and He continues to place me in the right situation, either successful or not from a worldly perspective.  It is not mine to question why, but to give thanks and use wisdom and discernment to understand when things go well and why they do not.

The key point for each of us, either employed or not, is that we are always talking with someone who can, and will, play a role in our current or future success.  Never assume that those you know or meet with can be of no assistance.  Relationships are not always obvious and many you will meet have connections or alliances you will never know about.  Treat others with respect and I promise you that most of them will do the same for you.

We are all connected, trust me.

I have proof.

Have a great weekend.