One of the more difficult aspects of job search is the need to “play a role” that is not necessarily in keeping with our mental picture of ourselves.
The question of “Who am I anyway?” comes up on a daily basis. If we are no longer employed or even if we are, the position description or the job we are responding to or the interview we are engaged in may require a total rethink on our part.
If we have been Chief Financial Officer of a firm and “in command” but we are now competing for a Controller’s slot, our “less than subservient manner” may cause us to lose a position for which we are well qualified and one in which we could easily thrive.
While I would be the last one to suggest to anyone that they dumb down their resume, the relationships in any new situation are going to, of course, be different from the last job you had.
In the last job, which hopefully you had for an extended period of time, the people around you knew who you were and you knew who they were. The mutual respect was part and parcel of the relationships you had with those around you. All bets are now off.
In trying to acclimate yourself to a role at a new company, you need to think of yourself as an actor in an “improvisation” group. Picking up on the subtle clues of who you need to be is the key to your having a successful result.
Give careful thought to all the information you can discover about the firm with which you are interviewing. Use your membership directory to identify those who have previously worked at the firm. They may even know some of the “players” or at a minimum be able to give you a sense of the culture.
Alas, there is often no prior rehearsal in these situations, so do your best to ensure you are playing the best role you can. Hopefully, you will actually be playing yourself.