Looking for a job is easy. Looking for a good job is difficult. But finding a role that will allow you to thrive and grow, now that’s the real challenge. In fact, this will be a challenge for your entire career. But it is especially difficult at the start, because the process is still new and you may be focusing on the job description.
That focus is good, don’t take me wrong. You should focus on the job and the role descriptions, and emphasize the value you will bring to the company (“bring” being the keyword here).
That is a great starting point for writing your application. But come the time of the interview, you must widen your perspective. You will get to talk about the “what” of the role a lot, and through this, your interviewers will determine whether you can be a good technical fit for the role.
What I call the “what” are the basic questions around the position: what does the role entail, what are the responsibilities, what are the expected outcomes of the role etc.
But for you, it’s not enough to focus on the “what”. If you want to ensure that your career progresses, you must also look for the “who”.
The “who” questions are the in-depth topics that you must go into: who will you work with and report to, who will train you, how does the teamwork together etc. These are the questions that you must ask a prospective employer – yes, even if you are shy and they feel cheeky or pushy. They show that you care about your working environment and about your future colleagues, that you are keen to join a well-functioning group and be a positive addition. They also show that you are thinking about your career (hello long-term thinking). In a word, they show maturity.
The “what” questions look at the stuff that will fill your days.
The “who” questions look at whether your days will be fulfilling.