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Mark Allen

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What characterizes my perfect job?

Posted 2009-12-21 in General

A less-than-perfect interview answer

I was asked in a phone interview last week to describe my “perfect job.” I’ve prepared for endless hours for “generic” interview questions over the last several months… and for roughly 10 hours for technical questions I expected for this particular interview… yet was sadly unprepared when asked this question. While my answer wasn’t awful, I remember it being somewhat unfocused and rambling. What makes the situation more pathetic is that I left my last company because over time the careers I pursued there had one-by-one lost the characteristics of the perfect job… one would think then that I’d be extra prepared to answer such a question, given how important the “meaning” of a job has to me.

So I spent some time this weekend pondering the question and came up with a list of the characteristics of the perfect job. I authored a thank-you letter to the interviewing manager and included this list… with the preface that I felt that I’d given a less-than-complete answer to the question. As I’d really like a shot at this job, my fingers are crossed that this will be well received.

My Perfect Job

Without further ado, here is what characterizes my perfect job… it is a position which:

  • Is highly technical with novel, challenging, cutting-edge problems to solve
  • Closely matches my expertise and interests (software, instrumentation, algorithms)
  • Empowers me to influence and lead others to make correct technical choices
  • Expects me to continually learn new concepts, technologies and practices
  • Is one where my contribution measurably influences the success or failure of the products
  • Is in a company with a culture of meritocracy and technology
  • Is with a company whose products address and advance the human condition
  • Is with a company in a developing and growing market segment
  • Is in a market where customers truly value and appreciate the products being offered

So I wonder how this matches up with others’ views of the perfect job. You can let me know what you think using the Contact form.

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