Why Not Interview?
How many times have you been contacted by a recruiter in the last year? Did you take the request seriously? Are you happy where you are? Does your employer provide you with career growth? What about work/life balance? Why didn’t you take it seriously? Are you wary of being judged based on a resume and a few conversations? None of that really matters. The real question is, did you go on that interview.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a recruiter. Instead of my usual, “No thank you” response, I said yes. I love where I work, but I wanted to gain perspective. I realized I have become comfortable but is that the same thing as being happy. My skill set has expanded, but has it grown in the direction I want it to. I realized I was out of touch with the industry and needed to know if my abilities are valued by other companies as I think they should be. Am I too comfortable where I am to realize I am now stale and obsolete in an ever changing IT landscape. I needed to know if I’ve been fooling myself into thinking the innovation at Edmunds is keeping me on the forefront of change in Technology.
I was nervous because it had been a long time since I had been on an interview and excited because I wasn’t sure what I would gain from the process. I made sure I reviewed my relevant experience and talking points, and was prepared to understand what skills I needed to be successful.
Most of the discussion centered around how we do things at Edmunds and by the end, I realized, too late, their leadership could not relate to our SOP; scrum team collaboration on features, engineering establishes quality which influences thoughtfulness on design. What I now assume is the standard operating model for most companies; agile, design thinking, lean, innovation, and collaboration; was not the case.
What I discovered was more than I set out to find.
The interview process reaffirmed what I initially believed. I work at a company that really values my abilities and helps me grow. Edmunds isn’t for everyone, but it is for me. I discovered there are companies that believe they are innovative and want change, but they don’t understand what that really means. And I’m really lucky to be at a company that actually lives by that credo.
This process was also a huge wake-up call.
Once upon a time, I was a great interviewer. If I can get my foot in the door, I can speak to my abilities. Instead, I was embarrassed by my inability to articulate our process effectively or speak the common language. I had made certain assumptions and was so used to communicating within Edmunds that I let my outward communication skills to become stagnant. I realized for me to grow as a contributing employee, I need to know how to communicate across all levels in and out of Edmunds in order to bring innovative change into Edmunds.
It gave me a new perspective.
In order for me to be a well rounded and happy employee, I need to realize my value, contribution, and potential. Am I worth as much as I think. Am I undervalued. Do I have the skills to take myself to the next level. Do I have opportunities to grow? Am I recognized for my work. Am I as much of a rock star as I think I am. These are all questions I needed to dig deep into and consider. I now have a greater appreciation for the skills I’ve developed at Edmunds and for the growth opportunities I have been exposed to.
Should Edmunds be concerned about my loyalty?
I don’t think that’s the right consideration. I shouldn’t be uncertain about where I work and why I work there. This interview process only solidifies my commitment to Edmunds. It aligns my beliefs and values with those of the company. It really put a spotlight on my strengths and helps me understand why I belong.
I encourage you to go out and interview to understand your value. If you are honest with yourself, you may discover the grass isn’t always greener and every company has its challenges. You have to go into this with complete honesty evaluating your career path, growth, and happiness. Maybe you aren’t the high contributor you thought you are. You might think your career should be at a certain level, but do you have the skills to actually do that job? I believe this process will either help you perform to the best of your abilities or provide a lens to where your career should take you. You will definitely have an insight to your needs and be able to have that conversation with your manager about your value and your growth. Sometimes, you need different experiences to get to the next level and that’s OK. If you know where you belong, then that company should welcome you back because you have come back as a confident individual with a stronger skill set; and you are committed because you know that’s where you want to be.
Gina Shaw is Senior Director of Enterprise Services at Edmunds