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Episode #002 – What does “success” mean to you?

What does “success” mean to you

Career Fitness – Job Interview Preparation Series for Mid Career Professionals (Technology, Product, Corporate, Startups)

I have conducted 1000+ interviews, not as a recruiter but as a co-founder of a company. I have been recruiting for my own company. So it is 100% ownership with very high diligence to select people at entry level laterally and even leadership hiring.


The question for today is, what does success mean to you? This question does come across in different ways. It might be phrased a little differently in different interviews. Most likely, this will come at a stage when you’re either talking to HR, you’re talking to the founder, or your people are talking to a key sponsor for the position. Is the role mid-senior, senior, or leadership level? 


So to be very clear, this is not a popular question. It’s slightly abstract, but it does come up. It’s not a very popular question, but it does come up. And more importantly, you must have a version of an answer ready for yourself more than anyone else. So that’s the key objective that we want to achieve. So again, the question is, what does success mean to you? And let’s go about structuring the answer. So the key thing to note over here is that if you’re in your early 20s, late 20s or early 30s, depending on the stage in your life, in your career, the answer will vary. 


Very early in your career, it may be the size of your paycheck, and that may be a straightforward definition. At somewhere down the line, 10 years down the line, it might be a mix of your compensation and designation, so on and so forth. So people do choose to quantify success in different ways over a period of time. So the key to answering some of these questions to structure it is to make sure that you have a very holistic, well-rounded definition. And by that, I mean you bring in elements of job-related success of your family, friends, health, all of these things in right proportions, and again, encouraging at this point in time for you to think for yourself, how do you want to start answering this question for yourself genuinely, not just in front of people? 


So have a very holistic kind of thing. But when you are in an interview setting, you’re talking with the person you want to see more and more about the business side. Yes. Bringing in the personal aspects, bringing in that vulnerability. Bringing in the whole person, not just a specific set of skills, is something that is very valuable, but you definitely want to stay with the business. 


If you’re interviewing for a product, the sales, role on the business side or competency-specific role – You definitely want to have your definition moulded towards it. If you’re a supply chain specialist, so you definitely want to be able to and if you have like a very deep insight if this is something like the third interview in the series of interviews that you’re having in that particular company, and you have a fair understanding of what exactly the mandate is, what exactly are the problems facing? We want to choose to customise your answer appropriately. Of course, don’t change your answer, but just make sure you’re able to contextualise your response to the specific company. Stay with the business. Don’t stay and go on the, you know, on the holistic spectrum. Don’t go on your family on your personal life too much. Just make sure that you’re balancing the whole thing. So be very careful that you understand what the goal is. 


Metric and Baseline – 

Don’t start putting metrics. Define your success by taking the metric from point A to point B because it’s something you may want to port or you feel like you want to code, but you really don’t know if the business really wants it. 


But just make sure that you are you give that you understand what the true Northstar metrics for that particular business or function are. And you’re able to communicate that part out in the interview process. Awesome. 


Perfect. So I hope this helps with respect to structuring our what is how do you define success for yourself? So make sure you’re bringing in a holistic definition of your personal, professional, health, and all the aspects in more and more hours towards the business side of things. This question will come up in a very different way. Not a very terribly popular question, but it will be asked in different ways. So just make sure that you’re ready for it when it comes. Most importantly, have it answered for yourself. Think about this question for yourself. 




Career Fitness – Job Interview Preparation Series for Mid Career Professionals (Technology, Product, Corporate, Startups)

For 6 – 14 years experience bracket folks. People who are looking to meaningfully pivot the career, leapfrog into a new domain, change focus areas. Advice on how to navigate your career for stronger longer-term RoI.

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Mayuresh S. Shilotri writes on Product, EdTech, UX, Customer Development & Early Stage Growth. 2,000-Word posts only. You can discover more about me here

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