During my search for a new job, I spent a lot of time reflecting about what I wanted to do next. This was time well spent, as it helped me get a better sense of my strengths, interests, and priorities. While the self-reflection was helpful, I had another great tool at my disposal that gave me additional feedback that was critical to helping me find my next job: A 360-degree assessment.
360 degree assessments are tools that are often used to help leaders get feedback from their peers, direct reports, and managers to help them see a holistic picture of themselves as a leader. Using these same principles, I used the 360 assessment to help me get a holistic perspective of what I thought were my strengths, skills, and potential next steps, but what others who knew me well thought of those exact same things. This feedback was informative in that it A) confirmed some of my initial thoughts B) gave me additional perspective that I hadn’t considered and C) gave me some potential paths and ideas to think about. The process for it (which I’ll outline below) is pretty simple.
Come up with questions
Design a survey (I would suggest 5-6 questions max) that you can have people fill out and take. The questions should be geared towards getting another perspective on things you already have thought about, such as your strengths, weaknesses, and examples of past work. Here are the questions I used:
- What strength or skill do I have that you don’t see amongst most people you know or interact with, and how have you seen me use it?
- Where have you seen me at my best? What was the context, and what stood out about that?
- What is something that you think I can develop or improve upon?
- Since we first met, what’s something that has undergone the most growth or change?
Identify Your Survey Participants
You’ll want to make sure you get a good cross-section of people to take your feedback survey, ranging from peers at your level to hopefully people above and below you. I also made it diverse enough to include people from various aspects of my life. While some of these people hadn’t seen me in my current work situation, they knew enough about me that their feedback would be helpful so I included them anyway.
After you get your feedback it’s time to review it and more importantly, put it into action. I categorized the feedback into feedback that confirmed my thinking and then another category for things that surprised me. For the things that surprised me, I either did additional thinking on this or directly followed up with people for feedback to get clarity or to ask follow up questions. Either way, the feedback is meant to be acted upon.
In the end, the feedback was helpful on many fronts. First, I confirmed a few types of roles and companies that I was interested in and had a good skillset for, which I was then able to pursue.
Second, the feedback gave me examples of how others saw my skills and strengths which was useful in crafting my elevator pitch as well as reminding me of practical experience to talk about later on in the interview process.
Finally, the feedback was a nice reminder that I had what it took to make a transition into a new job, even if there was a challenging job search ahead.
While some of us know exactly what we want to do next, others need a little soul searching to find the next opportunity. Next time your stuck reflecting, consider deploying a 360 review to get feedback from your colleagues and friends who can assist you in your process to finding your next opportunity.