If you think college is hard work, wait til you graduate and start job hunting. The fact is, a lot of other graduates with exactly the same qualifications as you (and sometimes better!) are competing for the same jobs.
Because of this, many job hunters feel pressured into putting forward as appealing a face to employers as possible. However, keep in mind that recruiters who’ve been at their job for a while, can spot insincerity from a mile away.
So how do you balance authenticity with not chasing away a potential employer? Here are three things you think you should hide from your boss, but really shouldn’t.
This year, I fired and then re-hired my best friend for the Senior Designer position at my PR firm. In January, she shared that she had taken on some responsibilities that would limit her creative time. It was a tough call, but I ultimately decided it was best we parted ways – amicably, of course.
A month later, she told me she mostly resolved the issue with her schedule, and could make room for assignments. However, she cautioned that I should keep freelance designers on-call, just in-case.
Her candor ensured we were able to prepare for the worst-case scenario, while keeping our preferred choice of a designer on the team. It also saved us from the embarrassment of taking on visual assignments with no designer to complete them.
It’s important to let employers know when obligations may affect availability. This includes school, military training, and religious practices that prohibit you from and working on certain days.
Springing the surprise on us later on, when you knew all along, will not sit well with management. There’s a 30-90 day probational period in most companies, so you can still get fired – and without notice.
While searching for a replacement for my Senior Designer, I found one promising candidate. I drafted their contract and was about to hit send, when I decided to explore their website a little more.
I then discovered that the designer also had a freelance PR practice on the side, which presented a clear conflict of interest, and violated our contract. We politely declined, but this could have easily ended in a lawsuit down the line.
If you know that other work projects you have may conflict with the job you are applying for, it’s important to disclose this to your boss. Many companies will require you to sign a non-compete contract, which will force you to end those ties, anyway.
Save yourself the trouble by fessing up. Some companies may even be willing to compromise.
In 2016, due to expensive renovations on my home, I decided to take on an easy part-time job. At the interview, the Director looked at my qualifications and then looked at me with confusion.
Was I sure I knew what position I was applying for? Why didn’t I apply to join the management team?
I explained that I already had a business during the week, and just wanted an easy job to make some extra money. Despite completing renovations on my house six months later, I still have that job.
Why? I have never had a conflict between my part-time job and my business. My boss, to this day, remembers the candor I showed at my interview, and ensures that no work activity conflicts with my business.
Had I not told him the truth about why I wanted the job in the beginning, I wouldn’t have that privilege, today. Of course, some ulterior motives are better left unsaid, or should be phrased carefully. But pretending you’re applying for a job purely for philanthropic reasons, won’t do you any favors in the long run.
Are you struggling with the job hunt process? Did you finally land a job interview, but you’re now overwhelmed with anxiety? College Mate can help with your resumes and CVs, cover letters, portfolios, and even coach you for the big day. Email us for details.
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.