Cilantro: We either love it or we hate it. Very rarely do we sit on the fence. Come to think of it, the same applies with pineapple on pizza or black licorice. I, for one, will pass on all three, without exception. The same didn’t apply when I was looking for a job, though.
When I was looking for my first job, I did what most people do: I went to the job boards, LinkedIn, and other websites to look for my first consulting job. And while I found hundreds of job descriptions, none of them allowed me to understand what the real experience was going to be like. In hindsight, I often wonder what it would have been like if the job descriptions I read were any different from all of the others.
The fault isn’t on others though, I didn’t ask the right questions and I didn’t do my homework. I didn’t change more than a few lines on my CV and I didn’t put in that extra effort.
And I’m not alone.
The job-seekers I speak with today are all thinking the same thing: they’re thinking that each job description looks as good as the last and that they’d be lucky to have a job at *insert great brand here.* The looks of the job description don’t articulate what the experience is going to be like on the job. Similar to knowing that there is no way to understand what cilantro will taste like just by looking at it.
Now talking to new grads or people who are looking for new jobs, I hear the same thing over and over. I hear people who are looking for a job that aligns with who they are and are left clueless when they’re looking to apply. Even today, a job description doesn’t really describe the job, it just talks about the skills and requirements needed to do the job. The opportunity is to talk more about the experience while on the job. The opportunity is to know more about what our lives would be like as a result of the job rather than just what the skills we need to do it are.
While cilantro isn’t for everyone, jobs shouldn’t be either. And to fix it, we need to be talking about what the experience is going to be while on the job, and not just the skills and experience needed to do the job, along with Value ‘statements’ like Integrity, Honor, Respect (like anyone is going to not self-identify as respectful and honorable). If we can start talking more about the experience one might have while on the job and focus less on the image of the job and what it appears to be, maybe we can all make more educated decisions. If we can see what the office design is like, what work will look and feel like, if there are remote or flex opportunities, who our teammates are and what they value, if we’re going to be in meetings on the computer most of the day, then I think we’ll be getting a lot closer to knowing if there is a fit or not.
See, it isn’t about right and wrong when it comes to culture and experience; it comes down to what is true and untrue. It isn’t about attracting males vs females, or Millennials vs. Gen Z (or other generations), for example, it is about attracting people who have more education about the position and what the experience would be like if they were to work there or not.
It is a dream of mine that we actually like the work we do, and to do that, we need to know more about the position than the perks present and the skills needed to do the job. If people knew enough about the job, perhaps we can reverse this trend where job-seekers (myself included) will apply nearly blindly to tens of jobs without really knowing what we’re applying for. The more we know about a position and the experience while in it, the better our decision will be. No more do we want to think “meh, I could work there,” it is far better to think “I’m all in” or “it’s not for me,” much like cilantro is for most of us.
Eric Termuende is the co-founder of NoW Innovations, a bestselling author, and an international speaker. Termuende was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express, is a TEDx speaker, and represented Canada at the G20 Summit. He speaks and writes around the world about the future of work and human-centricity in the workplace. Website: https://erictermuende.com/