Along with adequate compensation, job security and work/life balance, one common goal of people seeking work is to find a job they find fulfilling. From a recruiter’s perspective, that is frequently a tall order to fill. Other goals like job security and work/life balance are also subjective – but can generally be translated into at least a framework that has some objective characteristics like assuming the employee will be evaluated on his performance – or the job’s time demands won’t be unreasonable. Only the job candidate can determine what defines a fulfilling career – and sometimes even they have a hard time coming up with a satisfying description.
When we work with candidates to help them clearly understand and describe what they consider “fulfilling” work, there are a number of issues we ask them to think about and clarify:
- People often say they want their work to “make a difference.” What does making a difference mean to you? What are your values? How would you measure whether your work has actually made a difference?
- Candidates want challenging work that uses their full potential. They want work that captures their attention and engages them. What are your strongest talents? Do these talents align with the career you desire?
- Which activities/tasks do you find motivating – and those you find demotivating? Does the level of autonomy you have in your job affect whether your work is fulfilling?
- Is continued learning and development important to you? How much time and effort are you willing to commit to personal development?
- Is advancement important to you? What does advancement mean to you in your specific career? Where do you see your career in three years? In 10 years?
- Think about the organization in which you would like to work. What characteristics would it have? Does an organization’s size have anything to do with whether you feel you can find fulfilling work, or not?
A good recruiter can help your job search and career development in many ways, but if finding fulfilling work is a high priority for you, you’ll need to spend some time understanding and accurately communicating what that means to you.
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