We talk a lot about the job market on HR Bartender. From a recruiter’s perspective, we share ideas for finding the best talent. For job seekers, we suggest ways to get that dream job you’ve been searching for. One of the strategies we haven’t spent much time talking about is using our past successes and failures to build a roadmap for the future in your career.
I was reminded how important debriefs can be after reading best-selling book, “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” by Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni. The book has been revised and expanded in its second edition. The chapter titled “Let hindsight light the way” really resonated with me.
I know we tell recruiting teams to do regular debriefs after they hire someone. Think of it as an extension of the intake meeting. Ask yourself, “What did we do well?” and “What could we do differently?” This isn’t about right and wrong. It’s about refining the process to become more effective and efficient.
But what about candidates? And I don’t mean candidates should have this conversation with the companies they’re applying at. I mean if you’re searching for a job, are you regularly asking yourself, “What did I do well during that interview?” and “What should I consider doing differently next time?” Don’t make the assumption that if you got the job that you did all the right things. Conversely, don’t assume if you didn’t get the job that you blew it.
In Kaye and Giulioni’s book, they’ve outlined what is called “the never-ending interview”. I’m not going to republish the entire interview here (you should pick up a copy of the book and check it out) but some of the questions include:
- What skills have you always been good at?
- What are your top three values that you hold most dear?
- What do you enjoy learning about most?
- What lessons do you find yourself learning over and over again?
I could see the never-ending interview being a terrific way for individuals to do a little debrief of their careers. As a result, I could also see people saying to themselves:
- “In my last job, I didn’t get to work on these types of projects. And I miss that.”
- “Early in my career, I enjoyed learning about XX. It’s time for me to pick that back up.”
- “I want to work at an organization that shares my values.”
I do wonder sometimes if the reason employees become disengaged is because they know they want a new job, but have they really refined what they’re looking for in that new job (beyond the stuff like money, benefits, and commute time). In addition, I’ve been spending a lot of time over on my other blog, Unretirement Project, talking about encore careers. For individuals thinking about their long-term career journey, this type of debrief could be valuable.
“Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go” is a career conversations book. Its primary audience is human resources professionals and managers. They have regular conversations with employees about their short- and long-term career management. But I think the book is also very good for employees because it will make them think about those questions, long before they need to answer them. And that’s how career success happens.14