Why 'Defining Your Why' Can Make or Break Your Job Interview

By Fairygodboss via Fairygodboss

Candice Miles, a Strategic Account Executive at TEKsystems, cannot overemphasize “the importance of having a plan of attack – no matter the size of the task at hand.” She loves that her job affords her time to mentor and collaborate with her team members, and that relationship-building is a priority at her company: “in turn,” she explains, this “creates a culture of motivation, support, accountability, and growth.”

She recently shared with Fairygodboss what she excels at, where she’s trying to improve, and her #1 tip for job seekers (which is one you’ll definitely want to read before your next interview).

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?

I’ve been a lead account executive in our strategic accounts program for close to three years. Prior to this role, I was in our account management role supporting various customers.

What’s the last thing you do at work every day?

At the end of each day/evening, I try to prioritize the following day with the top tasks and activities that need to be accomplished based upon time sensitivity and complexity. I don’t succeed in preparing for the following day each day, but I’ve learned the importance of having a plan of attack – no matter the size of the task at hand.

What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your company?

I believe the most unique aspect of our company is our culture. As cliché as it may sound, we have an environment that requires a high degree of push in areas ranging from relationship-building to customer and client knowledge and satisfaction. This in turn creates a culture of motivation, support, accountability, and growth.

What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should?

It requires a higher degree of emotional intelligence and mental gymnastics than one would presume. In working with professionals in the ever-changing technology domain, you are consistently expected to learn their wants, desires, goals, etc. while also staying abreast of trends impacting the executives within the industries and businesses that they service. This means that you need to be a bit of everything to everybody – including yourself.

What’s something you’re especially good at at work?

I believe I’m good at providing alternative perspectives and solutions to the status quo. While I believe there is truth and merit to not fixing something that isn’t broken, I don’t believe in complacency over discomfort. Thus, I’m always considering new ways of accomplishing goals and fighting the good fight as it pertains to voicing a necessary – but sometimes unfavorable truth.

What about outside of work?

Traveling. Dancing (for the most part). Container gardening. Serving as an unlicensed but tough and caring counselor for friends and family.

What are you trying to improve on?

Situational leadership and meeting people where they are. It’s funny, as I fully understand and believe that being patient with the process (whatever the process may be) while balancing a sense of urgency will yield success. That said, great friends and business partners have had tough conversations with me regarding how I can be both wonderfully skilled and terribly unskilled at this very task depending upon the situation. Self-awareness and self-improvement are wild but enjoyable journeys to partake in!

What’s your favorite mistake?

This is an ongoing one, but even with my GPS activated, I’ll find a way to make a wrong turn during some form of a commute. Even if it makes me late, I try to find the good in discovering an area within a community or town that I’ve never seen before.

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?

The position that I’m in currently has allowed me to focus on mentoring and partnering with team members while also continuing a focus upon my passion of client engagement and discovery. It also exposes me to a diverse customer base (industries, geographies, etc.), which in turn aids me in staying fresh and relevant in my craft.

What do you love most about your job or your company?

How intimately I’m able to see into other organizations, their company’s personality their strategic initiatives, their talent engagement strategies, etc. And in turn, how I’m able to share and disseminate those bits of information and play matchmaker for the benefit of all parties.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

  • Reading: “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism”
  • Watching: “Hard Sun” on Hulu
  • Listening: Spotify playlist of a number of genres of music (R&B, Soca, ambient, pop, hip hop, alternative, rock, etc.)!

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?

Know who you are by knowing what you do well, what makes you tick, what makes you cringe, and what makes you light up. Having a sense each of those topics can aid you in understanding or further defining your “why.” This in turn can allow your authentic self to shine through throughout the interviewing process, which should resonate with the employers that are truly meant for you.

Who is/was the most influential person in your life and why?

It’s a tie for my mother and father. My mother passed away when I was 17, but I cherish every memory of her and life lesson she taught me. My father continues to serve as my friend, mentor, business adviser, fellow witty jokester, and so much more. I am beyond thankful for both of them and their influence on the person that I am today.

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?

The best quality is a combination of compassion and accountability. When you have a boss that truly cares about your personal and professional well-being and growth, you have a support system and platform to strive for goals you may have once thought were unattainable.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, a leading career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.