In the summer of 2006, I needed to find a summer job while home from college. My best bet, I thought, was to apply to positions in the hospitality industry. My goal? To make as much cash as humanly possible at a waterfront restaurant in Rhode Island.
After filling out many applications and only having a few interviews scheduled, I began to get used to the process. As most interviewers do, at the end of the interview they asked if I had any questions. I used to hate this question because I never really thought I had anything to ask besides, “When can I start?”
That all changed when I learned a little something about being more self-directed while still being a team player in my upperclassman college courses. One day, the interviewer asked if I had any questions. Instead of the usual, “No, thank you,” I actually asked a promising question.
“What kind of leader are you looking for in this position?” I asked.
This became my go-to question that summer when interviewing for server positions. You would be shocked at the reactions of some managers—they were surprised yet pleased at this simple question. By asking what they were looking for, I displayed my leadership qualities and showed that I was motivated and committed to the position. Asking this question also landed me a job at one of the hottest restaurants in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island.
Fast-forward to graduating college and interviewing at private and corporate businesses. These interviews were a little different from a summer server position, but, in all, they were the same. I needed to showcase something more than what my résumé stated and articulate that I was self-motivated and disciplined while still having strong team-playing abilities. These skills are essential in any field for current college students or graduates.
And they are also crucial for company success, which is why more managers are auditing their employee’s skill sets, strengths, and job motivation.
How Managers Are Doing This
Young and trendy companies all over the country are now getting more interested in their employees’ strengths, motivation, and performance. In fact, many companies are hiring outside resources to come into the workplace to check in on employees’ self-efficacy—particularly for new hires.
One of these resources is Culture Amp. The Culture Amp platform, used by industry giants like McDonalds, AirBnB, and Lyft, allows managers to collect, understand, and act on their employee feedback. This is an exciting development for college students and graduates who are entering the workplace, because it proves that employee autonomy, self-efficacy, and motivation are now a priority for businesses.
So go ahead and reflect on your skills. Determine what motivates you, and ask the hiring manager how you can become a valuable asset to the team.
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