Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sorry, Your Company Does Not Suit My Personality

What are your main concerns when buying a pair of jeans apart from shooing away the obtrusive sales assistant trying to get into the cabin with you to make sure the sale happens? Obviously, the fit. Not too baggy, not too flashy, not too dull, not too middle-class, not too torn, not too tight - in short, there are always considerations of suitability, and normally (well, I don't know how the shopping process works for others) I can tell straight away if it is a buy or not for me. In other words, a piece of clothing must feel like it belongs to me from the moment I lay my eyes on it and tried it on.

What are your main concerns when looking for a job? Same wide range of criteria? How do you explain to a recruiter what sort of company you would like to work for? Remember: most recruiters have the enthusiasm of a dead fish and the attention span of a tea spoon, so long-winded life stories would be spoiled on them. It is not because they are not nice people, but think of running over 10 interviews a day on 10 cups of strong coffee. Correct - very soon you become immune to any caffeine containing products.

Marketing professor Jennifer Aaker did some research on brand personalities. I can see clear connections how her findings can be applied to job hunting. Try to figure out, which of the following five categories you belong to:

  • sincerity (down to earth, honest, wholesome and cheerful)
  • excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative and up to date)
  • competence (reliable, intelligent and successful)
  • sophistication (upper class and charming)
  • ruggedness (outdoorsy and tough)
If we were trying to match personality traits with the company cultures, "sincerity" types would, probably, be most NGOs (Red Cross, Doctors without Borders), small production industries, farming, social entrepreneurship options. If you are "sophisticated and charming", then think in line with luxury, hospitality or entertainment and media industries. Why not work for big maisons dealing with such brands as Moet or Cartier? (just checking their websites - ag, the design and style - makes me want to update my resume!) It is not always the case that the brand and the job itself actually coincide in their brand personality. For instance, working for MTV as an Accounts Payable assistant won't get you much closer to the stars on the red carpet.

Something that Jennifer Aaker did not mention is the rise of LOHAS (in Russian this abbreviation has a funny connotation, not always far away from what it actually means though). LOHAS stands for lifestyles of health and sustainability. Having captured over EUR 375 bln of the annual market segment, it is a force to be reckoned with. Specially, when you are a talent manager and you see that your company has little to offer those who are "green", "fit" and "world peace"? Are you one of those by any chance? I am definitely pro-fitness and flexible life-style, so shift-work is a gross personality mismatch for me.

Next time you are buying a pair of pants or deciding on a haircut, spend some time thinking - are you choosing a place to work in the same fashion?

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