Are we aligned?

Here’s what I want to better understand during an interview: Are we aligned? 

Your experience is fine. Wherever you went to college is fine. Your references are (probably) fine. Your skills are fine. All of that is fine because you made it into this room. 

Now, my job is to find out if we are aligned. Does what you want sync up with what I want (job). Is who you are a match to who I am looking for (culture). 

Here’s the twist. Like airplanes on final approach, we may only be aligned for a relatively short while. I don’t expect nor do I want somebody to come in and squat in one job for the next 10 years. I know, that’s probably contrary to the prevailing opinion, but I would rather you burn hot and bright for a few years and move on to your next chapter, then smolder in one place for too long and grow bitter. (Yes, these aren’t absolutes, but for the sake of argument.) 

So, alignment is key. It means I am looking to better understand what you really want and who you really are. That’s why I ask the weird questions. So let loose. Interview me (with weird questions) as much as I interview you. It has to be right for both of us, or it will be wrong for the whole team.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on May 31, 2019

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