What would happen if you had to apply for your own job?
In the past year I have been conscious of, and written extensively about, the pace of change in my particular field which seems to be greater than ever before. It’s hard to keep up! Every time I learn something new, I have to get to grips with something even newer. I cannot imagine I am alone in this position! I also coach people in transition in various professions and sectors and advise them always of the need to stay up dated in their fields. But what about people not looking for jobs or directly at risk in any way? Could you get your own job if you had to apply for it?
Could they successfully apply for their own jobs?
One of the cruellest spin offs of any organisational re-structuring is that sometimes employees are invited to re-apply for their own jobs. This happens frequently when they have been in post for many years and have considerable seniority and experience. But does this mean that they are necessarily the best candidate for the job as it exists now in the current environment and climate? Regrettably not always.
There are a number of counter arguments to this thesis.
Many will say it’s the responsibility of the organisation to ensure than their employees are trained and up to date in any developments in their field and are performing to the best of their abilities. To some extent this could be true.
Any switched-on company committed to employee development will do this, seeing peak employee performance and talent management as intrinsic to bottom line success. But in times of economic stringency and turbulence, when training budgets have been slashed, updating employees and keeping them up to speed may not be their top priority. This is set against a background of quite often incomplete, inadequate,and irregular performance appraisal which limits meaningful feedback from any manager to his/her reports. Essentially many employees have no real idea of how they are actually doing, or where their strengths and weaknesses lie on the ideal candidate spectrum.
Many of you will also say that it’s no way to live, or work, in a state of permanent insecurity always worrying about someone coming in to take over your job. That’s also true. But complacency isn’t a good state either. One of the things we have all learned in this current economic crisis is that there are no certainties in life. So perhaps it would be foolish to sit and wait for someone else to take responsibility for your career and ultimately your life. Many people who are moved sideways, demoted, have promotion disappointments or who get fired, very often don’t see it coming. Many of us are wedded to our tried and trusted ways of operating. Even though we might acknowledge a need to do things differently at one level (mainly intellectual), we still struggle to implement practical change. It doesn’t matter if it’s C-suite level of Fortune 500 companies or middle managers in SMEs, taking that step to honestly and brutally self appraise is never easy.
It’s also not just about the arrogance of captains of industry such as Fred “The Shred” Goodwin, or the senior executives of General Motors or Lehman Brothers who failed miserably to understand the limitations of their own performance, until of course it was too late. It’s important for us all to consciously examine our own roles in relation to the market and be aware and take care of any short fall.
So start asking yourself the following questions:
- How qualified am I for this position, not necessarily always in terms of educational certificates, but in experience?
- Is my knowledge current?
- What improvements could/should I make to may own skill set and performance to achieve better results?
- What other changes would I make ?
- What is my mission statement?
- Can my contribution be measured?
- Do I look for, process and act on constructive feedback?
- What value do I add?
- Do I know my own worth? Do my bosses, peers, and reports?
- Who could replace me?
So… would you hire …you?