I had occasion to consider this question this week.
On Tuesday, I interviewed for a permanent job with a major Australian NGO.
I have never had an interview like it … but now I have, I will try to have them all the time. It was a blast!
First, the three people conducting the interview were delightful. We were all on the same page, and there was a lot of back and forth and discussion, rather than direct questioning.
Second, I had done my homework. This was an internet project management role, so I had read about the organisation and its subsidiary, and looked at their websites so I had an idea of where they would want to make some changes. This took all of five minutes.
Third, I went into it the way I go into the first meeting with a new client. This really made a huge difference, I think – because I was asking questions and they could see that I knew the right types of questions to ask and had a similar approach to them.
I cocked up, though. I was having such a good time talking with them, I forgot to mention that I only want to work 4 days a week – which is a Really Big Thing.
Fortunately, the HR person rang me within 10 minutes of my leaving the interview, to ask what salary I was looking for. She asked if I would consider $10,000 less. (I said I would consider it, if superannuation were on top of that figure). I mentioned the 4 days a week then.
Then I spent a couple of days angsting, because I would be giving up a lot of freedom in taking that job and wouldn’t be making a HUGE amount more than I already am. OK, permanent job … but OK, less freedom. Big angst – I eventually pretty much decided not to take the job if it was offered, unless they could up their offer. There wasn’t going to be anything new in it for me, I would really be re-treading old activities that I’ve done in the past. There’s the two good reasons to take a job, gone. So, being one to borrow trouble, I worried about how to knock them back.
She rang this morning to say that they were beyond excited about my CV and “jumping up and down” after the interview, but they thought the 4 days a week wouldn’t work. I am slightly kicking myself because I should have mentioned it in the interview – I think I could have sold them on it then. They decided, in the end, that I was probably too senior for the role. (She said “too good” – I said, “that’s not the word I would have used”)
Ironically, I now feel a little bit rejected, even though I had decided (with Fraser as independent witness, LOL) not to take the role. But I feel great about the interview, and she stressed that I should apply for other roles with that organisation. I thanked her & suggested they think of me if they had any consulting jobs to be done, too. She said they definitely would do that.
There has to be a premium attached to giving up some of my freedom. My contracting rates are set in stone and I am happy with them (if we quote on the right amount of time). I’d be a little more flexible for an interesting or different role that would help me with my long-term career goals. (Which really means I need to be managing people, external stakeholders and a budget).All in all, a good result. I have a couple of other “real job” applications in progress, one of which sounds promising although I think I’d be under-qualified for it. It meets all three of those requirements, though. And we have heaps of consulting work in progress too – I just need to make sure I manage the workload and don’t get sidetracked by other stuff like, oooh, Notre Dame.