The Art of Finding Work: Employers Do Not Care About ‘Your Whys.’ They Care About ‘Their Whys.’

coworkers first time meeting (photo from Better Up)

Outside of you, nobody really cares about your “whys.” Therefore, an effective way to build a relationship with someone is to show them you care about their whys. The ability to cultivate strong bonds with others is a valuable skill that will significantly enhance your personal and professional life.

A job search and life tip: When you meet someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?” 

When interviewing, keep asking yourself, How can I help this person?” Keeping this question top of mind will change how you interview and come across. For one thing, you will be more consultative rather than the typical “I need a job” candidate. You will be that rare candidate who asserts, “I can help you achieve your goals; here is how,” which is very attractive.

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

When it comes to searching for a job, some of your whys may be:

  • To be able to make your mortgage payments.
  • To be able to buy food.
  • To be able to vacation in Costa Rica.
  • To be able to own a car.
  • To forward your career.

There are countless reasons why someone needs a job and is job searching. Employers are not concerned with any of them. Employers are concerned with their whys. An employer’s top four reasons (whys) for hiring for a particular position are:

  • To maintain their business.
  • To handle an increasing workload
  • To grow their business.
  • To enhance their competitiveness by adding new skills or perspectives.

Note none of the employer’s whys are “to create a job so a new hire can fulfill their whys.” It is your responsibility to manage your career and finances and the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their company remains in business and grows.

Employers are not in the job-creating business; they are in the profit-making business. Therefore, all their whys lean towards creating and maintaining profits. It is not the goal of a company to increase its workforce. A company’s goal is the opposite: Having as few employees as possible while being successful.

Care and friendship are not part of the bargain of employment. The deal is ‘a day’s pay for a day’s work.’ Anything more than that is either luck or brilliant management.

Years ago, I had a tense conversation with a C-suite executive, which ended with, “This company didn’t create your lifestyle, so why do you think we should be responsible for it?” Eventually, I realized his point. I was thinking backwards! I was expecting my employer to care about my whys without me caring about my employer’s whys. 

Once I stopped looking to employers to take care of me, my career trajectory and job search success significantly improved. I was now giving off the “vibe” — your vibes are an integral part of your communication; therefore, always be aware of the vibes you are giving off — that I was looking to help the employer achieve their goals, not just help myself. My vibe differentiated me from the other candidates.

Employers will lean into you much more if they feel you genuinely want to help them achieve their goals. This requires understanding why the job you are applying for exists, how it fulfills a need or will help achieve a goal(s). (e.g., increase revenue, lower production costs, maintain a high-value client, increase efficiency)

When applying for a job, consider why the position exists. All positions exist to fulfill an essential function. The person hired to fill a position is hired based on their ability to perform and achieve the position’s goals.

The next time you apply for a job, do something most job seekers never do… reflect on the purpose of the job. Ask yourself, “Why did the company create this position?” “Why does this job exist?” Then, address these whys throughout your application (resume, cover letter) and when interviewing. 

Holistic reasons a position exists:

  • Payroll manager: Manage payroll.
  • Office manager: Oversee office operations.
  • Social Media Manager: Manage the company’s social channels.
  • Warehouse Order Picker: Pick and package items. 

The employer’s reason for creating the position.

  • Payroll manager: Ensure that payroll is processed accurately and that payroll tax laws are followed precisely.
  • Office manager: Maintain an efficient and cost-effective office. 
  • Social Media Manager: Plan, create and execute content strategies to drive engagement on a company’s social platforms.
  • Warehouse Order Picker: Pick and prepare requested items for shipping and complete the necessary paperwork, ensuring orders are processed correctly.

You cannot go wrong presenting yourself to employers in such a way that your skills, experience, and, most importantly, your desire to assist the employer in achieving their goals are evident. Nowadays, in addition to having the skills and experience to do the job, employers are looking for employees who are genuinely committed to helping their business succeed. 

A savvy job seeker focuses on how they can help the employer achieve their whys (goals). Their personal whys are not their primary focus. This is how you make yourself valuable to employers.

About Nick Kossovan 40 Articles
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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