What Is Career Transparency and Why Does It Matter?
by Ed Daugherty
May 22, 2019
What ingredients are in your cereal? How does your credit card company use information on your buying habits? Where do you really want your career to take you?
These three questions may seem totally unrelated, but they are grounded in one thing: transparency. The world is moving toward a mentality that prizes authenticity. Modern society is a questioning one, seeking the truth and using it as a driving force behind the decisions encountered each day. At IntellaPro we celebrate corporate transparency, but we also instill in our candidates the idea that career transparency is an underutilized job searching tool that can take careers to the next level.
Shaping Your Job Search Direction
Job seekers of every experience level in any industry have to first be open and honest with themselves prior to embarking on a job search. Doing so creates a strong foundation that allows for an efficient and strategic job search rather than one based on assumptions or false pretenses. It’s all too easy to hop right into a search online these days, so before doing so, take the time to consider how you work best and what you really want from your career.
Study after study shows that, when they’re asked to really think about it, most job seekers value factors outside compensation as most important. For example, what kind of environment do you actually thrive in? A Forbes article might tout the benefits of communal, shared office spaces, but do you perform better in your own private space? Ping pong tables at work sounds like a fun perk that can provide a refreshing break in the day, but would that actually be distracting for you? Put some thought into the kind of environment you want to be in.
Similarly, what kind of culture do you prefer? Many job seekers today value regular praise and recognition for their efforts. Some truly enjoy remote work, while others struggle with the isolation it can bring after the novelty wears off. Perks like volunteering time off or free gym memberships sound great on paper, but will you actually use them? Consider the nuances offerings like this bring to the table by forming your own pros/cons columns rather than taking another’s surface-level word for it.
Most importantly, what types of opportunities are actually going to progress your career? What responsibilities do you need to help you grow? Being open to unique or unexpected opportunities that arise is wonderful, but it’s crucial to determine whether it’s simply a company name, title, or salary that’s exciting you rather than the role itself. Digging deep for your own personal truth isn’t easy, but it results in the most rewarding and successful job searches.
Speaking Up in Interviews
Standing tall on such a strong foundation means you know what you want and will save time by disregarding roles that aren’t right for you. It also makes it much easier to be transparent with potential employers during phone screens and formal interviews, allowing you to speak up when necessary in the process.
Getting an offer should not be your prime or only objective in an interview, and it’s not a game to be won. Those who are happy in their current roles know that the goal of an interview is actually to evaluate the opportunity and vet the company to make sure it’s a good fit. If certain job duties don’t fit into what you really want to do in your professional life, it’s time to make that known in a frank discussion. If a company tries to sell you on benefits you don’t care about, you can leverage that in a counteroffer.
Job seekers who pretend like everything is perfect in an interview just to get a great offer are in danger of becoming unhappy and unfulfilled in their roles very quickly. Have the confidence to be bold and tell the person sitting across from you what you’re truly looking for. Realize that unemployment today is at the lowest rate since 1969; companies need professionals. Most will respect your honest feedback, and if they don’t, then it’s a sure sign you wouldn’t have wanted to work for that employer anyway.
Being Open with Your Employer
Career transparency will ideally keep you from accepting a role that isn’t right for you, but we all know that things change. The business world ebbs and flows and positions respond accordingly in their scope and duties. That’s why it’s so important to take stock of your current job on a regular basis and be open with your employer when an issue arises.
What’s holding you back from happiness at work? Is a certain responsibility causing more frustration than before? Are one of your clients suddenly difficult to work with? Have you been recognized for your overtime or extra effort? Say nothing to your supervisor and it’s almost certain that nothing will improve.
Employers want you to professionally share your concerns. After all, the happier you are in your role, the more engaged and productive you can be for their company. The Achilles’ heel of many very talented professionals is thinking that they should be able to handle everything that is thrown at them on their own. However, the best employees aren’t the ones who keep their troubles to themselves, but the ones who are transparent about what’s happening so that their role (and subsequently, the company’s operation) gets better.
Career Transparency and You
Being honest isn’t easy, but it can be a key driver of career growth. Dedicate the necessary time and effort it takes to be honest with yourself and those around you. Whether it’s during your job search, in an interview, or in your current role, career transparency is the only real way to progress professionally. Most of us will work for well over 30 years; let’s make sure our roles match our skill sets, personalities, and above all else, make us happy.
To find the job that matches what you need for your career, search here.