Did you say hello to a stranger today? Despite what ‘the elders’ told you, you’d be surprised how often you are approached by a total unknown and offer an answer either out of human decency or merely because you feel obliged.
It’s pretty difficult to go through a day without somebody asking you a question. Even those who already know you cannot resist. “Hiya?”, “The weather’s not great is it?”. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m anti-social but believe it or not, I don’t completely avoid interaction!
Every question is a form of recruitment. People want to befriend you, make you see their way of thinking and are prepared to get on board with your thinking and offer conversation. We want to know other people’s opinions and every conversation gives you the chance to take something from it.
Today’s job market is very much the one asking the questions. To give it a personality, the job market would be a cross between the recent EU referendum and Lord Sugar. It seems to know what it wants but gives you the chance to make its mind up. If you’re in it, you do your best to make other people’s minds think that they need you. If you’re not, are you confident enough that you won’t undersell your skills the next time you’re required to prove yourself?
Whether it’s your opinion or someone else’s fact, the next time you make or hear a statement you have the opportunity to;
A) Accept it and move swiftly on.
B) Dissect it and keep your thoughts to yourself.
C) Tolerate it, dissect it, offer your take on it and watch the dust settle.
D) Pretend you’re busy and store it for later!
The sooner you can reflect on your skills the better. Take the time to step out of a situation and see the bigger picture. The simplest of thought processes can often answer someone else’s problems. You can always offer something to someone, it’s knowing what to offer and in what context that’s crucial.
So, why the Coffee question? I task you with walking half a mile from your work place and not running into a coffee shop. Like it or not, coffee now has a way of quietly (in some cases) asserting itself as a constant in our lives. Flavoursome, adaptable, open to change. Solid characteristics with a take it or leave it approach. If you take it, your sold. If you don’t, you can bet your last pound that you will still see its face not too far away from every street corner. Coffee, like or lump it, is always available.
If you take anything from this post, let it be that coffee didn’t give examples of how it prioritises a workload or remains focused whilst using its own initiative. It just gets it! Coffee knows itself to the point where if it had an opinion, then it wouldn’t matter, people would automatically take notice. Be sure of your skills.
What things have you done that someone else might value? How can you recruit people to believe in what you have to offer?
Yes, I’ve posed a lot of questions but the key to success is knowing ‘your’ best answers. I’m yet to meet someone who has the right answer to everything, so be selective about your best qualities and what you can bring to the table. We all have something to offer and a place in society, let coffee be the example! Who knows . . . being sure of your skills and being open to share your success, however small you think it may be, could see you on the right side of the table when Lord Sugar says “you’re hired”.
Post written by James Beighton, Student Employment Co-ordinator at Sheffield Hallam University. For more of his musings, you can connect with James on LinkedIn.