My apologies to Michael Schrage and the Harvard Business Review for my stealing my lack of creativity with today’s title. But it really spoke to me. And not really because of the HBR article. (Sorry Michael).
You can check out the HBR post “Projects are the New Job Interviews” here. It’s a good read. Personally, I don’t agree that resumes are dead and interviews are ineffective. And I’m not sure how many companies will move toward incorporating an actual project into the interview process.
What struck me about the post was the title. Pure and simple. The projects we do will become the basis for an interview conversation. It’s not our job title or our assigned work responsibilities. It’s the projects we work on. The stuff we get done.
Flashback to my days in Corporate HR. I’ve worked on projects involving corporate racing teams, employee uniforms, missing luggage, general facility liability, company security and payroll – in addition to HR. When I interviewed for new opportunities, CEOs didn’t ask me about how many people I’ve hired. They did love talking about the projects I’ve worked on. Because they wanted to relate it to the stuff that needed to get done at their company.
Same also applies to volunteerism. Let’s say you organize a conference, lead a strategy session, or maintain the association website. These are all projects where 1) others have the ability to see you in action then 2) the interviewer can ask you how those projects might apply in a work setting.
Every single day, people are paying attention to what you say and what you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re on social media or not. I was reminded of this recently when I got a note from someone I met over five years ago. We had a lovely conversation over lunch, subsequently connected on LinkedIn and to my regret, really haven’t chatted much since. He sent me an email out of the blue saying how impressed he was with what I’ve accomplished on HR Bartender. I was super flattered. And honestly, I didn’t realize I was even still on his radar.
So back to the idea of projects. The things we take on, the projects we agree to be a part of, define us. Because people are watching. They are paying attention to what we do. We may or may not even know it. And guess what? Maybe we’re being “interviewed” all along and don’t even realize it.
Image courtesy of FAU Executive Education