A Critical First Step in the Hiring Process

A few years ago, I unexpectedly landed my dream job. I want to share how it happened with the hopes that others who are searching for the perfect fit could use a similar process.

Jon Larkin_How to get your dream job

A few years ago, I unexpectedly landed my dream job. Looking back, I think the process I went through is one that can be replicated. I want to share how it happened with the hopes that others who are searching for the perfect fit could use a similar process.

I was attending a luncheon for my employer Boise State University. My job at BSU as a fundraiser and administrator for the College of Health Sciences led me to attend many healthcare-related functions so I could meet donors and others who might have interest in our programs.

At this luncheon, I was seated next to a woman I had never met. As the lunch presentation progressed, I realized she was Patricia (Pat) Richards, the President and CEO of Select Health, a Utah-based health plan I had never heard of before that day.

I noticed several of the presenters mentioned Pat by name and eventually we started chatting. By the end of our lunch, she asked me to join the Select Health Community Relations Board Committee and I (to my partial surprise) agreed. It was my first introduction to Select Health and if you fast forward my story a bit, you’ll find out I fell in love with the company and later accepted a job offer.

With that happy ending in mind, here is my “No. 1 tip” for employers and employees working to find that perfect fit.

  • For Employers:

Create avenues that allow “potential-future employees” to interact with your company. These avenues could be things such as a community relations committee, a customer feedback group, a website functionality panel, or a business advisory team. These volunteer groups allow talented people to influence and participate in your company without having to make a hiring decision. Both the company and the “potential-future employee” are learning about each other and can be considering whether they would be a good fit for each other.

  • For Employees:

If a company seems interesting, pursue volunteer options with that company. These opportunities will allow you to learn more about the culture and meet some of the existing employees. This will help you understand what those existing employees are like and what they think about working at the company.

As I volunteered at Select Health, I learned about the company’s culture and mission. Through my work with the Community Relations Committee, I learned right away that their mission was to help people live their healthiest lives possible. But it became evident that this mission wasn’t just words: it shaped everything they did. We didn’t talk about marketing or sales in this group – topics I assumed coming into it that would be all consuming. Instead we talked about the communities where our members lived and worked and how we could impact their lives through investments in activities and organizations that align with the mission. We talked about the social determinants of health and how we could influence those factors to actually make lives better. And not for the purpose of selling insurance products or increasing market share – but because we were focused on the mission.

Another thing I learned was that Select Health has many long-term employees. It seemed like everyone I met had worked for the company for decades. Despite all the long tenures, they were still passionate about the company’s mission and the work they were doing. I remember wondering “what is the magic in this company that keeps people so committed and enthusiastic for so long?”  So, when Select Health proposed the potential of hiring an Idaho-based Business Development and Community Relations Manager, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.

This has been a dream job for me, and I would encourage both businesses and job seekers who are reading this to consider my story. Employers―think about how your business might offer a path for “potential-future employees” to explore your company in meaningful ways. For employees who are job curious about a company—consider how you might become involved with that employer before you accept or pursue a job opportunity.

Finding out if you are a right fit for each other before you both make a final employment decision can make all the difference. I know it has for me, and for Select Health. Now I look forward to becoming another one of those multidecade caregivers.

Related: The Rise of Telehealth and It's Lasting Impacts

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