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Updated: Apr 5, 2019

Several years ago, I received an email from an external executive search firm regarding an opening in Houston, TX. I was shocked. I wasn’t actively looking for a position...


thought I might just be a great “fit” for their client. Of course, my chest was puffed up, but after a few minutes, my mind started racing. I thought, “who is the client? What is the pay? What is the position? Is this going back to 100% travel? Am I even qualified?”

By the end of the day, I had reached out to the recruiter and I learned quite a bit more about the position. Unfortunately, the recruiter had also learned very little about me. I felt a bit used and almost “sold” in to believing that this company was “perfect for me.” However, the recruiter never asked me anything about my own wants and desires in my professional career. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting this person to know my full back story, but it would have helped put me at ease had we discussed a few of my interests and goals. Later that evening, I started to contemplate what it was I wanted if I chose to make the switch to a new company. Of course, more money was the obvious answer. However, after quite some time, I realized that I had a few more needs that must be included.

We organize our behaviors – both in personal world and professional world – according to fulfilling our basic needs.

First, we must feel secure in our position. We must know that our company (or future company) is steady. Thus, we must understand not only how the company operates when the economy is booming, but also in times of struggle.

Second, it would behoove us to understand the relationship between employee and supervisor (manager and director; director and vice president; vice president and C-Level Executives). If possible, seek out current employees to understand the relationship and culture of the company you will be speaking to.

Third, we must understand how our future company values its employees’ contributions. Do they solely reward monetarily? Do they offer flexible work schedules? What kind of benefits are offered? Does the company reward its employees in other ways?

Fourth, does your future company/supervisor allow for autonomy? Do they encourage creativity in the role? If not, do they encourage feedback?

Finally, do the employees that are currently working there enjoy it? One of the easiest ways to find out the answer to this question and all the questions above, is to find out why they are interviewing – is it because they are backfilling a need? Are they growing? Or, are they replacing someone – if so, why did that person leave?

These are just a few thoughts that every job seeker needs to be asking – whether it is from the employer or the search agency they are working with. Our skills lead us inside…but, our fulfilled needs keep us there.

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