What Job Seekers Should Learn From Paul Ryan

Despite your politics, no one should accuse Paul Ryan, now Speaker of the House, of being a misleading job candidate. He openly stated that he would not work weekends due to his desire to spend time with his young family. Dismissing Ryan’s honesty, there were those contending that Ryan made unreasonable candidate demands.

Those attacking Ryan for openly expressing his values were feeding the very core of why research shows that over 50% of workers in the U.S. are unhappy in their jobs. They fail to communicate what is important to them when interviewing for an employment opportunity. Instead, candidates say what they think their potential employer wants to hear. While this may gain you the position, it also ensures you will experience unhappiness, disengagement and less success in the role, as research supports.

Organizations are just as guilty of misleading candidates as job seekers. Their external brand is carefully tailored to send a message they believe will attract the best talent. However, employees don’t always experience the same brand internally. This disconnect leads to a lack of trust, disengaged employees and costly turnover. Even when job candidates are upfront like Ryan, hiring managers often haze over such feedback in hopes that things will be different when the candidate becomes an employee. They won’t.

For both job seekers and organizations, the web provides an open window into both sides. For the candidate, websites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss can shed light on the good, bad and the ugly of an organization. For the employer, LinkedIn profiles, personal websites and a general Google search can provide insights into who the candidate really is. Pay attention. This information will help both the candidate and organization make the right decisions.

Ignoring the red flags during an interview process is never a good idea for a job seeker or company. If you are not being honest as a job candidate and the organization is not being truthful about its brand promise – unless either side really listens – it will end badly.

Be clear and sincere about what is important to you, what you value, and what you are willing or not willing to do. In the short term, finding a good job fit may take longer. In the long run, you will be happier, more fulfilled, and ultimately more successful.

To avoid the pitfalls of landing in the wrong job, take Ryan’s lead. Be upfront. Ask yourself the following questions before and during your interview process:

  • Am I interviewing for a job that supports what I value most?
  • Have I communicated to those I am interviewing with what I value most?
  • Does the role have the flexibility to support what I value most?

If you value time with your family or friends, you won’t want to work for a company that requires extensive hours and weekends. If you enjoy social interaction, don’t accept a job working independently or remotely. If you have problems focusing in noisy environments filled with distractions, you may want to avoid positions in an open plan office space. If wearing a suit makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t apply for roles in a conservative office setting.

By being true to personal values, Ryan has eliminated one of the biggest hindrances to job satisfaction and life happiness. His example is foundational to personal engagement and greater career success.

How have you found happiness in your job? Share your comments below.

For more information about me and my new book How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love (Second Edition) and companion recording, Surrender to Your Purpose go to LouisEfron.comAmazon.com and iTunes.


Published on Forbes, 29 October 2015

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