3 Steps to Determining if a Job Seeker Is Truly Interested in Their Career

Pixabay: caio_triana

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Pixabay: caio_triana

As a career counselor, there’s nothing better than seeing one of your job seekers find a job in a field that excites them. After helping them grow and shape their career goals, it’s rewarding to see all the hard work pay off.

Yet, every so often, you have a job seeker who seems dispassionate about their chosen industry. They pursue great jobs in the field, but with a sense of disinterest. Perhaps the typical roles aren’t a match for their natural talents. Or, when the job seeker speaks about their career path, there’s no spark in their voice.

Either way, this leaves career counselors in a difficult position. Do you let the individual go into a field they’re not passionate about or do you try and convince them to change their plans?

Luckily, these aren’t you’re only options. By better understanding your job seeker’s perspective, you can give them a nudge in the right direction. Here are three things to consider when dealing with a dispassionate job seeker:

1.Consider their personality.

Everyone expresses their emotions in their own way. When excited about something some people jump for joy. Others talk about the topic constantly. Others spend hours quietly researching more about their interest. None of these behaviors are incorrect; they’re just a reflection of the individual’s personality.

If you’re worried about whether or not a job seeker is genuinely passionate about their chosen career, take a moment to look at who they are. Do they tend to be shy and quiet? Do they rarely share information about themselves? Have they ever talked about a topic for more than five continuous minutes?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you see what the job seeker’s baseline level of excitement is. If it’s unusual for them to get animated about any topic, then their subdued behavior doesn’t mean they’re dispassionate in their chosen field. However, if the job seeker regular gabs on about other interests, they might be about to start a career that won’t make them happy in the long run.

2. Dig into their thought process.

People are attracted to different fields for a variety of reasons. Some job seekers need to be invigorated every day through their work. Having a sense of meaning and purpose is their number one priority in a career. For others, they prefer to have a sense of stability. Or they want to get in on the ground floor of a growing industry.

Just because the latter two motivations are driven by practicality rather than pure passion, that doesn’t mean they’re bad choices. Remember, as a career counselor, you must help job seekers find a career that satisfies their needs.

To see if a job seeker’s chosen field will make them happy, start by asking them about what they absolutely need from a career. Then ask them to assess their career path based on that criteria. This will help both of you see if they’d made the right choice or need to keep looking.

3. Understand that passions are developed.

People are born with talents, not with passions. Just because someone has perfect pitch, that doesn’t mean they’re interested in music. It takes time and knowledge for an individual to realize what fields truly speak to them.

If your job seeker seems dispassionate about a career path, maybe they don’t know enough about it yet. Something about the field has perhaps spoken to them, but they lack the experience and skills to talk about their interests coherently.

In this case, it’s your job as a career counselor to encourage your job seeker to learn more about their chosen field. Have them research the trends in the industry. Schedule informational interviews so they get a better idea of what lies ahead in their career. If you see their interest level increase as they learn more, you can be confident they’ve made the right choice.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.