In a recent presentation with students, we discussed the importance of understanding what the hiring manager needs when he hires you.
Specifically: the manager is hiring you because he believes you can help him be successful.
This is why it is so important to do the research when you’re job searching. You need to understand what problems that person is trying to solve… and position yourself as the best candidate to do so.
If you think about it, why would anyone want to hire someone who was going to make them look bad? Logical, right?
Often this principle gets missed along the line: 75% of workers now say the biggest source of stress at work, is, you guessed it, the manager; often because we don’t do a good job of relationship building at the outset, and then we don’t maintain clear and direct communication thereafter.
Here are some key ideas, and actions you can take, to help build this important relationship in your first job:
1. Your Job Is to Make Me Look Like a Hiring Savant
Your boss hires you because he believes you can help him be successful. He thinks you have the ability to help to solve their business problems better than any other candidate. He believes you can help them win.
He’s not hiring you because he thinks you’ll fail, cause the organization undue harm, or embarrass him in any way. The very act of his hiring you means he has confidence in what you offer.
How you can make your manager look like a hiring savant:
- Know your boss’s goals and objectives.
- Learn how your goals tie into hers.
- Ask, in each meeting or one-on-one: What can I do to help you be more successful?
2. The Competition Doesn’t End When You Get the Job
Whether it’s getting the job or earning a promotion, you are always competing for what comes next in your career. You competed to get the job, but now that you have it, you must compete in the job. No resting on laurels.
Bars never get lowered in most organizational environments, mostly “the bar gets raised.” It will rise for your manager, and it will rise for you. When this happens, understand it’s part of organizational life, and help your manager, and your team, win.
How to compete after you get the job:
- Get clear on your performance objectives and how they’ll be measured.
- Keep your manager apprised of your progress and milestones before she asks.
- Ask for clear and direct feedback on how your performance is contributing to the organization, and what you can do to increase your contribution.
3. If I’m Not Giving You What You Need, Tell Me
When you’re hired, you walk into a new organization that’s been doing things in certain ways for a long time, most likely. When a new person comes in we often don’t stop and think, “Gee, do we need to explain that to new guy?” Instead, we just keep rolling.
Someday you will know what all the short hand references mean, how you need to get work done, and whether a deadline means the actual deadline, or three days before.
But in the mean time, if you don’t, you need to ask.
A successful relationship enables parties to mutually meet each other’s needs. So it is with manager and employee. If you aren’t clear on what something means, or what the cultural idiosyncrasies are, you need to ask.
This goes for feedback to. Managers might forget how important that is to you. And if you’re not getting it, you need to ask.
How to ask for what you need:
- When you observe how work gets done in the organization, don’t criticize, but ask others to “help me understand” why things are done a certain way.
- If you aren’t getting feedback, ask for it in your regular manager conversations. Ask that it be specific, timely and actionable.
- Culture is an important part of organizational life. People tend to take it for granted, but for new employees it can be baffling. Ask your co-workers to explain the cultural aspects you may not understand.
When you have a better sense for what a manager’s expecting of you, you’ll be able not only to perform better, but you’ll have more confidence in what you’re doing. Your manager is on your side. Do your part to be on his.
If you’re new to a job, or in your first job, leave a comment below and let me know what steps you still need to take to make your relationship with your manager work for you.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!
About the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. She blogs at DegreesofTransition.com. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter, too.
Image courtesy of forbes.com. Thank you!