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Want to Keep Doing That?

Interview Success: Will You Want to Keep Doing the Job?

In part one of the Interviewing Success series you learned:

  1. Everyone is hired as a problem-solver.

  2. Companies only care about your skill set as it relates to solving their problem.

  3. In the early interview rounds, it’s all about them.

In part two of the interviewing series you learned how the first thing interviewers want to determine is whether you can do the job.

Now, we examine the second question the interviewer needs answered: Will you want to keep doing the job?

At first, this question may sound silly. But, many of us know people who took a job intending to use it as a launch-pad to a next [better] job. Or, perhaps you accepted a position and several weeks later realized:

  • The work wasn’t what you envisioned or were promised.

  • Your managers treated you differently than you thought they would.

  • The commute turned out to be a nightmare.

  • That company’s values didn’t match your own.

Hiring managers know how any of these could compel you to search for a new position. That’s why they ask you several questions designed to reveal whether you’ll want to keep working there.

Note---This question is more important than “can you do the job.” Recruiters have told me they can quite easily find people who can do the job. It’s much harder, though, finding people who can do the job and will want to stick around.

As an example, I once knew a recruiter who told me he first looked at an applicant’s address. He used it to quickly estimate the commuting distance and time, because he considered that a key indicator of whether a person would want to keep doing the job.

Given this importance, it’s vital for you to answer the question for yourself before the interview. But, how do you start? It’s too easy to just say to yourself “I think I’ll want to keep working there…it depends.”

But, depends on what?

That’s what you really need to figure out before the interview! Because, until you understand what matters to you, has meaning for you, and keeps you happy in the long run---that is, until you know your values---you won’t be able to honestly answer whether you would want to keep working at any position.

And just what are values, anyway? Here’s a one description I found at

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they're probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you're satisfied and content. But when these don't align with your personal values, that's when things feel... wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

This should make sense to you: If you aren’t happy at a new job, things will feel wrong; you’ll grow unhappy; you’ll start looking for a new job. You don’t want this. Neither does an employer. So, it’s critical that you perform self-discovery: Know yourself. Know your values.

There have been numerous studies of value sets. Here are summations of value sets described by Anthony Robins, and by Deci and Ryan. As you read these, consider which core need appeals to you.

Anthony Robbins says there are six core needs in three categories:

Needs of the Personality: 1) Certainty and 2) Uncertainty/variety.

Needs of Achievement: 3) Significance and 4) Love and connection.

Needs of the Spirit: 5) Growth and 6) Contribution.

Deci and Ryan describe three core needs:

  1. Autonomy

  2. Competence

  3. Relatedness

Once you know your core needs, you should consider what activities and environment you need to feed those needs. For example, if you have a need for Autonomy, you probably prefer a job where you get to make most of the daily decisions. If you have needs for Significance and/or Competence, you probably prefer a job where you can be recognized for making a significant contribution.

Once you understand your values, be sure to consider your core needs and values while job-hunting. This includes researching companies for which you would want to work and companies for which you would not want to work.

As an example, I know a woman in New Mexico who received a phone call from a recruiter; told her he could double and possibly triple her salary. And, she could move back to New York, where she was from originally. It sounded great! She asked, “What’s the company?” The recruiter stated the name of a famous tobacco manufacturer.

She turned down the opportunity, because her values and the company’s did not align. Her father had died of lung cancer, brought on by a lifetime of cigarette smoking.

Once you accept an interview with a company, you must not only fully investigate the company, you must also research the manager and the team you would join. Then, during the interview, ask questions that will reveal the company culture and the values of the people interviewing you.

What’s a typical day like? What’s your management style? Do you see his job involving significant amounts of overtime or work on weekends? How does your firm handle recognition for a job well done? How much freedom would I have in determining my objectives and deadlines?

So, let’s sum up: Long-term career-success depends on your figuring out as soon as possible whether a job will feed your core needs. Know your values; apply to companies whose values seem to align with your own; during the interview ask questions to discern the values of the hiring team.

In our next interviewing success article, we’ll discuss the third question employers need answered: “Will you fit in?”

You can learn about value sets at:


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