In as few words as possible (but make them compelling), give me 1. and 2. (Gag me with a spoon, but do not give me an elevator pitch, puleeez…)

Forget about jobs you’re applying for, the job you have, and jobs “available”… Now, tell me:

1. What’s the one job you really want?

That’s the easy part. (Well, maybe not. When’s the last time you even thought about that…?)

Now put yourself in the shoes of the boss who owns that job:

2. What one thing does the best candidate:

  • Know
  • Do
  • Think
  • Say
  • Show

that makes you hire them?

(Hey, remember that managers hang out here, too… and sometimes a comment impresses the hell out of them…)

  1. The one job I really want is scoreboard operator at Wrigley Field, but unfortunately that’s not the type of position you can just go apply for.

    Of course, if that opened up and the floodgates released thousands of candidates, I would want someone who could show the proper enthusiasm for the game – not just the team.

  2. What’s the one job I really want? Wow. I’ve actually had the job I really want, including the one I’m working in now. For me, it would be a matter of moving it several hundred miles to the west so I can live in the Rockies again.

    My current position is computer programming in a business environment on a small team, so I’ll use that as a point of reference. The best candidate doesn’t necessarily have the most technical skill in our particular technology, but instead is the one who follows the best programming methodology and has good habits. I hire talent, not skills.

    I know, I’m dreaming. I’ve been to only one shop in a 20 year programming career who actually practiced that, and they ended up being a bad place to work for. But almost every position I’ve worked in could have hired me on that very basis and I would have done well.

  3. Its a question I’ve asked myself at several points in my academic career ( I’m a recent grad). The problem is, as I learned new things and understood different ideas better, that ‘one job I really want’ kept changing. So although I know what I want right now, I’m not looking solely at that type of position.

    To answer the first question – I’m a mecanical engineering masters grad, and am very passionate about renewable energy. My ideal job would be one that involved researching new ideas in the area while collaborating with various other departments. The important part being that it should not be only research, or I would have pursued a phd.

    As for the second question, I’d want the candidate to know have a thorough and broad understanding of engineering basics, as RE is a growing industry and no single solution has emerged as a winner yet. I would certainly appreciate some form of experience in the area, and here’s where I fall short of my own expectations (being a recent grad). To think in terms of what could be achieved, the time frame in which its possible and the means to identify what is necessary to make that happen is important. Lastly, the candidate would have to express genuine interest in the industry and back it up with knowledge of whats happening.

  4. What, only 3 people who know what kind of job they’d really love to do? Only three who can put themselves in the managers’s shoes and explain what they’d want in a new hire?

    And not one manager paying attention??

  5. I want to be the CIO for the CIA.

    I love leading people, I love technology, I love my country and I like to be in charge.

    Why the CIA? I’m fascinated by this organization, contrary to its latest beating in the press.

    I want to give back to my country, and given the way the world is, this would be a great place to do this.

  6. Analyzing technology trends and how they’d impact upon the entertainment world (TV, movies, social networks, cell phones etc). I love how each world impacts and interacts with each other…

    The best candidate would have to demonstrate how they’d find the information and analyze the results. Information wise, he or she would have to demonstrate how they’d locate the CEO’s, directors and managers in order to solicit their insights on the technological problems facing them.

    Analytically, the best candidate would have to prove that he or she can draw insights from the data (the ‘so what’ factor). I’d place less emphasis on the tools part (software such as SAS, Excel, etc -> this can be learned on the job) and more emphasis on the insights part. I want to see how the candidate thinks and how he or she would analyze the data to draw the insights (naturally, there’s no right or wrong answer).

  7. @Thomas: I like your emphasis on insights and being able to draw conclusions. Tools can be learned. How many companies hire people just because they “know the tools” — then let them loose? But you haven’t explained what the job is. What kind of company would hire you, and how would this work be used to produce profit? (I’m needling you, but I’d like to know more.)

  8. @ Nick – thanks for making me think via the needling…

    Job wise, it depends on the company I want to work for:

    If it’s for a consulting company like Forrester et al, then as an Analyst/Senior Analyst (I’ll aim for director later on).

    If it’s in high technology, (think companies like Qualcomm, who are entering the field via their MediaFlo division) the competitive analysis and strategy division (analyst working my way up to the director position)

    If it’s with a pure broadcasting or cable company, strategic analyst.

    Profit wise, it breaks down as follows:
    a) for the broadcasting or cable company – helping them figure out how to monetize their content online via an app on IPhone, Facebook, etc or if they decide to place this online. Hulu is an excellent example – the content being placed is actually making money for their owners as opposed to Youtube.

    Comcast is another example – they’re trying to figure out how to pull a Hulu…

    b) for the consulting company, helping ‘a’ figure out the next technology trends (along the lines of being a futurist) and how people will access or interact with their content online (it’s all about the content). Naturally, these companies would have a yearly or monthly subscription to gain access to my insights (profit for the consulting firm).

    c) for companies like Qualcomm, evaluating their competitive environment and developing strategic options to help them develop a superior product.

    As you can tell, I’ve been thinking a very long time about this…

  9. This is a small sliver of evidence to make my case.

    Take a look at this:

    Look at James’ comment on that post.

    Now read this post (above), and Thomas Bell’s comments.


    Small sample of data points. But I ask the question again, Why do people (and employers) pay to use job boards?

  10. Kudos, Nick, for helping people like me gain confidence in myself.

    I’m a 40+ manager. I love working with people -motivating/inspiring, teaching/learning. So I worked in customer service, design and marketing in large corporates till now. And I fully agree with Thomas – once you can bring insights into the job, rather than just operate the tools, the results are awesome.

    But of late, I see more corporates be driven by very short term financials and treating people as liabilities.

    To me that’s just myopic – if the company lays off in droves, it can only be if its not going to be in that business after some time, or its managerial capability is suspect.

    I believe strong balance sheets reflect value created by inspired and capable people working together, and should never be from sustained release of “other people’s money” the company collected from equity or debt issues.

    I’ve put my money where my moth is – quit my company a year ago (big financial profits, no operating profits).

    At this time, I’m still looking for a company where I’ll love my work. And I know it’s not easy. But I’d rather be out of a job, than be in a job, and out of work.

  11. 1. What’s the one job you really want?

    My main interest and focus in career is helping individuals to align their professional lives with their personal wants and needs, and facilitating organisations as collective bodies, to align as better cohered entities with improved side-effects of reinforcing ethical practices and procedures.
    Ideally I work as an educational consultant and use the StrataQuest Corporate methodology. As a recently graduated PhD student specializing in cross-cultural communication, I know that its cultural awareness itineraries meet the specific and practical needs of the corporate environment. They address the areas of Communication, Personnel, Ethics & Responsibility, and Organisational Health by dealing with human behavioural elements rather than procedural ones.

    The company that would hire me is a learning organization that is willing to apply six ‘fluid’ criteria to expand personal and organisational self-awareness, ethical responsibility and cooperation.

    2. What one thing do I -as the best candidate:

    Communication is the single most necessary and primary factor that is
    addressed to make later priorities (Personnel, Ethics & Responsibility,
    and Organisational Health) possible. Why? Organisational aspirations always fall foul due to inadequate or errant interpersonal communications.
    Human emotions and reactions follow certain complicated patterns. When known and practiced, they can be used to smooth workplace relationships and assist common endeavours.

    S/he invites those in executive functions to reassemble and re-tailor the organisation to operate as a self-organising entity that is in sync with others/ the Other.

    S/he understands and works with the thinking quality of human beings to expand this tool towards expanded vision and perception.

    S/he presents a unique and massive amount of data as well as interactive drills, that in totality exceed most business or chance agent courses available, both in terms of quantity and quality. The rationale behind this is to enable the self-organisation as an independent yet interconnected entity.

    S/he shows consistence in commitment to his/her life-purpose and works as an aligned human being.