Ask The Right Questions Or Don’t

I am privileged as an Employment Counsellor to engage in meaningful conversations with people looking for employment. If you listened in on these, you’d hear me pose a number of questions and with each answer a clearer picture of the person would be revealed.

The trap someone in my place can easily fall into is to size up the job seeker in a few moments based on all the previous job seekers one’s worked with and miss what makes this person unique. The questions I ask and especially the ones I might not, can and do make all the difference in helping that one person find the right match; what they’re really after.

For example ask the question, “So what job are you looking for?”, and I’m likely to get a simple job title. “Personal Support Worker”. This reply is correct, definitive and tells me nothing of the person themselves. If I worked in an environment where success was based solely on churning out resumes and getting people to apply for jobs measured my performance, this would be the fastest way to carry out that goal. However, that seems backwards measuring my success rather than the job seekers based on quantity and not quality.

There’s better questions to ask of someone looking for work; questions which are far more effective at assisting someone to find and keep employment. Better questions that get at the person themselves and their motivation for work.

When I ask, “So what do you want out of your next job?”, one will glibly state, “A pay cheque.” Another will say, “I want to find meaning in what I do”, or, “I want a job where I can make a difference; where I can really help others.” So of the two answers, which person would you rather have caring for you as a Personal Support Worker? I’ll opt for the person who is motivated by their wish to make a difference in the lives they’ll touch over the person working for a pay cheque.

Another good question I like to pose is, “Tell me about that job; what would you actually do?” I ask this question whether I have a really solid understanding of the daily functions of the role or not. This question is really designed to give me information on what the job entails from their perspective and how well that matches up with what employer’s set out as the responsibilities and job functions. Working in a Veterinary Clinic for example sounds appealing to those who like animals but many aren’t ready to keep their opinions and values to themselves when an owner comes to an agonizing decision to put down their beloved pet. It’s not all cuddling and grooming.

As I listen to someone describe the job they are after, I also focus my attention on not only the actual words they use but whether there is any passion or genuine love for the work described. This is most often revealed through a smile on the face, a softening of the eyes, a change in the pace of their words and some varying of the tone in their voice. Do they show and demonstrate some enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of doing this job or not? Some speak very matter-of-factly about their work of course and for many that’s exactly what it is; work.

Perhaps you’ve heard that expression, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, even the most ardent worker who loves their job with all they’ve got will tell you they still make a significant investment in their time working to improve their productivity, working to keep their high standard of performance or working to keep up with best practices. Stop working at being your best and you rot. So if we all ‘work’ at work, why isn’t the experience of work the same for everyone?

Simply put, it’s what we put in and what we get out of it; investment and return. The best athletes aren’t just naturally gifted, they invest countless hours training, improving, working on elevating their performance to be the best they can be. The brightest often experiment and when they don’t succeed they embrace that failure and learn from what didn’t work to discover what will. So when I ask, “What are willing to put into the job?”, if they answer with the question, “You mean overtime?” that tells me volumes.

Here’s what I think about, “overtime”. I find that a person I work with will often end up over time securing a job which differs from the one they originally identified to me because having got to know them better, together we’ve found a better fit. In other words, with some question and answers, they’ve discovered that finding satisfying and fulfilling work is more than just finding a job.

If you believe that in this economy this kind of thinking is a luxury and one can only hope for a job and a pay cheque, you are entitled to that opinion. There are professionals who will gladly take your money and your time while mass producing your resumes.

As an alternative, let’s ask some probing questions; get to the heart of what makes you unique and find where you’ll truly live that passion that seems so elusive.

I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this. Please comment and share.


Do You HAVE To Bring Passion?

Q. “As a condition of being hired, you have to bring passion to the job every day. Can you do that?”

A. “Absolutely. Never met her but give me her address and I’ll swing by on my way to work.”

Funny? Maybe. And if you want to go ahead and steal that from me, be my guest. It’s original; well as far as I know anyhow.

I ask you though, is it essential that you bring passion to work on a daily basis? Given that there are billions of people on the planet and a broad spectrum of jobs out there, it’s conceivable that some jobs demand it and others don’t. Look at a lot of job postings these days however and you see that word more often than not.

So this becomes problematic if you aren’t the demonstrative sort. You might in fact be the very kind of person who isn’t really passionate about anything in your life be it professional or personal. That by the way doesn’t make you negatively abnormal, nor does it mean you are disinterested in your work, or are you destined to be any less likely to succeed.

It does mean however that some employers are going to pass you over because you don’t exhibit that key quality which they’ve identified as essential in each of the members of their workforce. This isn’t the end of the world; it just means you’re not well-suited for that particular company and if you were hired, you’d undoubtedly not be a good fit with the others working there. In passing you over, the employer has done themselves and you a big favour by wisely hiring someone else who best exhibits that enthusiasm and passion so necessary to perform at the levels they expect.

So instead of lamenting the fact that you don’t bring passion to the job, or worse yet trying to fake it and be something other than your authentic self, turn your attention to your natural strengths and disposition. It is of course quite possible to be punctual, reliable, work hard and work to meet deadlines with a high degree of regularity without necessarily needing to add passion to the mix. These are also highly desirable qualities which employers value too.

Take the assorted tools a Gardener would use. Whether it’s a shovel with a rounded head, an edger, a pick axe, a hoe or a rake, each tool is the right tool; the perfect tool, depending on the job you use it for. Likewise, each tool is not well designed for some jobs and no tool is the best tool for all jobs. The same can be said for any personal quality you have.

In fact, that analogy of the Gardener’s tools is a good one for you to think about and possibly even share with an interviewer if they are questioning your passion and you meet the job requirements in every facet except that one. You can have a solid work ethic without it for example and should you be able to extol this virtue, you might win over an employer who started out looking for passion in their employees but didn’t themselves really understand why.

Returning to the notion of faking it, is it possible to, ‘fake it until you make it’? Well I suppose anything is possible. The notion that you could fake being passionate about your job responsibilities until one day you wake up and realize you are genuinely passionate about it might occur; who am I to say? But I suspect that would be a rare thing. Far more likely is the idea that you could fake it and get hired only to find you can’t maintain the pretense of bringing passion to the job and then you are exposed. Besides, do you really want to start off this way and feel you have to keep up appearances instead of being your genuine authentic self?

To do the above, it would consume a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy; energy which you would be better advised to put into the very work you are being paid to do. You only have so much of it to start with and if your mind is split between the work to be done and trying to keep your body language and attitude attuned to what a passionate person would look like, you can’t be working at your best.

Now don’t get me wrong. Any employer has the right to establish the qualities they desire in the people who join their workforce and passion may be one of them.  Good questions to approach your research with when considering applying for such an employer are, “What do they mean by passion?” “What does passion translate into on a daily basis?” “Why is passion defined as critical?”

Keep in mind that the work you are looking for is likely out there with a variety of employers. So if passion is sought by one employer and not another for essentially the same work, choose your employer and pass the other by. The fit has to be right for you as well as them. If however you note that this single quality is sought be every employer in your line of work, that would be something to reflect strongly on.

All the very best to you this day and every day to come!


Why Do You Want To Work Here?

This afternoon I had an encounter with a woman who came up to me with a list of 21 written questions she was to answer as part of an online job application. In addition to the 21 questions, she had nicely composed a second sheet of the corresponding 21 answers she had formulated and wanted my opinion on them.

One of the questions was, “Why do you want to work here?” The employer which I’ll not name for reasons of confidentiality is an office of 5 Doctors; the position she was applying for was a Medical Receptionist.  So that’s the background. Her answer to the question posed was, “I want to work in this office because it would be a good place to learn from the Doctors and gain more skills which I would find very helpful.” So what do you think of that response?

As I read the answer she gave, I was simultaneously doing quick assessment of the woman in front of me. Now I’d never met her before; I’d never even seen her before. All I had to go on was a 3 minute introduction and in addition to her appearance and her voice, I had her answers which gave me a glimpse into among other things, her motivation.

Here was an answer that was all about her you see. It was all about being in a good place for her own growth and gaining more skills. To what end? To take to another employer in the future or to benefit the 5 Doctors who were going to spend their time presumably training and teaching her? I suggested an alternative; perhaps she might be better off to say that she wanted to work there in order to provide the Doctor’s with administrative support in order that they might have more time to devote what they do best; treat patients.

Now this answer shifts the focus from what the young woman would benefit from in the job to what she actually offers to the employer(s). She gave a look that suggested she was processing the alternative and after a reflective pause she said, “I get it. That’s better.” When I asked her why she thought it better, she demonstrated an understanding of the point I was attempting to make all on her own. Good for her.

This is a fundamental position to take whether you are writing a cover letter or resume, or answering questions in the midst of a job interview. Shift the focus from what you want or need in a job to demonstrating or stating what the employer would gain from hiring you. In other words, what is your value proposition. Hire me and you get ____________. Hire me and I solve your problem. Hire me and here’s the benefit you derive.

It’s not about now, nor has it ever really been about you quite frankly. It’s about what you can do for the employer. Now most of the time what this translates into is money and how much are you going to either cost them or make them. If you present yourself as a cost to the employer (as in you’ll need extensive training or with your credentials you’re not likely to stay long) you will likely be passed over. If on the other hand you can competently market yourself in a way that they see will make them money, you become a commodity of higher value.

So how do you make an employer money you ask? Well if you’re in retail that’s easy; you educate customers on the benefits of purchasing products and services and then they do so increasing the stores profits. If you are in the service industry, you provide excellent service which benefits the people you serve, and they are less dependent on services and more empowered to do things on their own, eventually becoming self-sufficient and independent.

But to some this sounds like boasting; a very tired objection but real nonetheless. You were told not to boast about your abilities as a child growing up and maybe were even told its unflattering, ungodly, shows conceit or arrogance. It’s not boasting however; it’s marketing your skills, abilities and capabilities in such a way that you become attractive to the interviewer. You want them to say to themselves, “This one is just what we need and we can’t let them get away.”

Look at the employer’s values which you can typically find out by doing some homework on the company itself. What do they stand for? What motivates them? What is it about what they believe and how they operate that separates them from their competition. Now ask yourself if what you have found out is similar to your own values and beliefs. If the answer is a resounding yes, you’re going to need to produce some examples of your work in the past that demonstrate your values and beliefs. Otherwise, without those concrete examples, you may be dismissed as just telling them what you think they want to hear, and anyone can do that.

Invest in the necessary research to learn about the company BEFORE you apply and a second time BEFORE an interview. Don’t wait and say, “I’ll look them up if they give me an interview; I don’t want to waste my time.” I’m telling you that if you don’t do your homework in advance of your cover letter and resume revisions, you are indeed wasting your time.

It’s The End Of The Job Interview…

Unless you’re blindsided with an abrupt end to the job interview process, I’m guessing you can sense when things are wrapping up. Whether you hear the interviewer say, “Just one more question…”, or “Well that just about does it” you can sense the end is drawing near. So in those last couple of minutes what should you do?

One thing you shouldn’t do is plan on playing things by ear and winging it. The people who tend to make things up on the fly typically don’t succeed well; these are the folks who 5 minutes after they’ve left the interview room say to themselves, “Oh I forgot to say…!”

What you say does depend on two critical things: 1) As the interview winds down are you still interested in competing for the job based on what you’ve heard and experienced and 2) Has the interview gone positively or not up to that point? This is the challenge for any applicant; continue to answer the questions and stayed focused on the process you are involved in while simultaneously detaching yourself so you can constantly evaluate how things are transpiring.

Let’s assume first that the interview is going well and that you really like what you are hearing and seeing from the employer. Your confidence is high and you want this job more than you did when you first came into the room. Ah yes, the ideal scenario! In this case, you want to leave expressing your enthusiasm for the job and what it entails. As you wrap up, what you really want is to know how the process moves forward. Once you walk out of the interview you’re in the dark otherwise.

Certainly offer your hand with confidence and a smile, making contact as you do. Leave them with a final closing statement: “You’ve done an excellent job at raising my anticipation and excitement at the prospect of joining your team. I’m confident that in choosing me as the successful applicant for this position we will have a productive and mutually beneficial relationship. I look forward to hearing from next Tuesday as you’ve said. Thank you!”

There’s assertiveness in the above statements. It’s not all about you or them but rather the start of a mutually beneficial relationship. You’ve complimented them on raising your anticipation of working there and who doesn’t like to hear they’ve done a good job themselves? You’ve also reaffirmed the timeline they’ve indicated and used your manners by expressing your thanks and appreciation.

Let’s look at another scenario. You’ve become disenchanted with the job opening as the role is explained to you or you’ve picked up that for whatever reason this isn’t going to be a good fit. Should you continue with the interview and waste both your time and theirs or sit through what are the final few minutes out of some kind of respect for the process? My advice is to end things and leave with dignity and class. “If I may, I have great respect for your time as you go about finding the right person for this position. For this reason, I feel it only fair to say that from what I’ve learned today, this isn’t going to be the best fit for either of us but I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have met you.”

You may find this catches the interviewer by surprise and they might ask what’s changed. The situation is reversed now from what is often the case where the applicant is rejected and wants to know why or what they could do in the future to better compete. In this situation it is the interviewer who might want feedback. It’s up to you what if anything you say, but I will tell you that I’ve counselled people for some time to use this strategy and every so often if the employer is really impressed with the applicant up to this point, they make some concession in a negotiating effort to retain the person’s services. More responsibility, a title that fits better, re-packaging the compensation package.

One thing to bear in mind as well with the above is that while this particular opportunity didn’t come out in the end as the best personal fit, you might wish to apply for a different role with the same company or re-think things in the future and reapply for the same position. So best to ease out of the interview process with gratitude for their time and with some class.

Every so often when I hear from a person who has just left an interview, they tell me that they forgot to ask something which is really significant to them. They had expected to ask a certain question if the information wasn’t given to them but they completely forgot. What to do? Why not pick up the phone, ask to speak with them directly and ask your question? You can do that? They won’t think you’re daft? No. Interviewers will generally appreciate the fact that you’re still very much actively engaged in the thought process. In some cases you might email them with your question. Express your thanks first for the interview, indicate your keen interest and ask your question.

By the way, if you feel you’ve messed up and are losing the job you really want, be frank with the employer. Give them your best pitch with sincerity and learn from the experience; as you should with every situation.


“So Tell Me About Yourself.”

You’re fortunate if the job interview starts off with this question. Not everybody agrees of course; in fact, this question seems to rank pretty high up there on the list of questions people dread in an interview. So let’s look at this question; why it’s asked and most importantly how to answer it intelligently so you get off to a positive start in the job interview.

To begin, imagine yourself as the interviewer; sitting on the other side of the table and meeting job applicants for the first time. Presumably the number of applicants has been reduced from all of those who applied down to a few people who – at least on paper  – meet your stated qualifications. After all, whether your company used applicant tracking software or human eyes, it’s highly probable that the reason you were invited in to meet with company personnel as a potential new hire is that you have done a good job matching yourself up with their needs as stated in the job posting.

At this point, you as the interviewer are coming face-to-face with people for the first time. Your job is to meet these candidates, listen to them respond to your questions, confirm their credentials, expose any liabilities and in the end, determine the best of those you meet in terms of finding a fit for the organization. Make the right choice and you add to the overall strength of the company; choose the wrong person and you have two problems: a) you let the right person walk away and b) you’re going to have to release the person you’ve hired and return to the interview and selection process costing you time and money.

As the interviewer, you can look at the resume of the 5 or 6 finalists for the position you are interviewing people for and compare education achievements and professional development. If the job requires a diploma or degree, presumably all the people you are meeting will have this credential. Not much point wasting valuable time confirming that in person, unless of course you’ve requested they bring in the original document for confirmation. Even so, that would take less than a minute to verify.

What you’re really interested in is getting information from the meeting itself which you will compile in order to form a complete picture of the person you are interviewing. Your ears will pick up the person’s vocabulary, ability to express themselves, hesitations and uncertainties and quality of their answers. Your eyes will provide information you’ll use to form a first and last impression based on their clothing, their grooming, posture, facial expressions, gait, smile etc. Your hands will note their handshake quality and will relay information you’ll interpret as their confidence, nervousness, confidence etc.

Leading up to the interview, you’ve no doubt sat down either alone or with someone else and come up with the questions you plan on asking in order to best extract the information you want and need to know in order to make the proper job offer to the best candidate. Some of these questions will focus on technical skills, past experiences, future plans and all the while the interviewer is listening and gathering information they’ll need to determine the right person.

In addition to the objective education (your formal schooling), experience (have you previously done the work required of you now) and skills (how well or poorly have you performed) the interviewer is focused on determining the right personal fit. From your words, tone of voice, visual cues, body language and your own questions, they are sizing up your attitude, values, personality and visualizing how you might fit or not in the environment that makes up the workplace. They know the other employees in the department you could be assigned to, the supervisor you’d report to, the qualities of the best employees they currently have who have made a success of the work. They are in short, measuring you up against this unique knowledge they possess, trying to determine not only if you have what it takes, but the impact of your hiring on the existing workforce and ultimately the services and products they produce for their end-users. Whew! No pressure there!

Okay, so upon first meeting you and the other candidates, they only know what they’ve read on your CV or resume and in the 23 seconds they first eyed you and you took your seat across from them. They are now ready and take the lead on the conversation welcoming and thanking you for coming in to meet them. The opening question is really the ice-breaker; the in-depth questions are yet to come but in the beginning there’s one question that’s really just designed to hear you speak and give them some lead data from which to add to a first impression.

To answer the question intelligently, respond to their stated needs as outlined in the job posting. Get them checking off their own needs based on your answer. You’re a proven professional in your field with the required years of expertise. You’re passionate about your industry and identify your strengths as they relate to the job at hand. Ensure your body language and words reflect your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Personal hobbies? Avoid these unless they add to the position. Family situation? Irrelevant and could expose liabilities. What’s your motivation, what will you add?

Look at the job posting; don’t wing your opening answer or you may find by their reaction you’re going to be spending the rest of the interview in damage control.

Job Interviews And Memory Triggers

For many people the job interview is a highly stressful event that they’d rather bypass altogether if they could. A common fear I hear over and over again is the fear of not being able to recall a memorized answer; the ‘blanking out’ problem. Read on dear reader; I can help with this.

First of all, put aside the idea of having to memorize all the answers you plan on using in the interview. It’s way too much pressure on yourself – on any of us – to memorize 10 or 12 solid answers. It’s also probable that you’ll be asked at least some questions which differ from those you practiced anyhow, and so you’d have to think up something on the spot in the end.

Let’s make a fresh start on preparing for future interviews. Get yourself a pen., paper and a job posting you’re interested in. Those that take the time to get these 3 things and follow my instructions will benefit much more than those who just sit and read on. You do want to benefit as much as you can don’t you and succeed in interviews where you’ve run into problems in the past? Great.

So you’re back? Great.

Now look at that job posting. On the paper, print one of the key job expectations; what the employer will be expecting you to do. Now underline whatever you’ve put down as a kind of heading. Now take a moment and think back in both your paid and unpaid work and recall an experience where you did something exactly like that. So if you put down, “provide excellent customer service” as your heading, you would put beneath it a brief recollection of a time in your past when you provided a single customer with your very best customer service.

As you write down your example, it is critical to be as specific as you can rather than just a general example. So rather than saying, “I provided great customer service when I worked in retail”, say “I remember working at the ABC Shoe Store and a woman came in and was very upset. She’d been to 7 stores in the mall but no one had helped her get her shoes. She had very odd-shaped feet and needed extra wide shoes. I  listened to her then measured her feet and brought her two pair to try on. She ended up buying both pair and was delighted as it had been an exhausting day for her.”

Now, you can imagine trying to recall that story word for word and then realizing that this is only one answer of many you might need would be hard to do. If this is your approach up to now, I agree the interview would  be a scary thing to avoid!

Here’s the next and critical step: find a trigger word or phrase. Look at the example you put down and read it again. As you read it, ask yourself if you find one word or phrase that will in the future trigger the whole story and make it easier for you to recall when you need it. In my example above, perhaps my trigger word is, “Bunions”. (This is a sometimes painful growth on the feet and something the woman had in the shoe store).

So now beside the heading which I’ve underlined, I’m going to write my trigger word and I encourage you to do the same. My example looks like this:

Excellent customer service: Bunions

This process is now to be repeated for each of the key responsibilities the employer has put into their job posting. If you have 5 or 6 key responsibilities in the ad or job posting before you, you’ll have 5 or 6 headings on the paper eventually and one story under each heading that demonstrates your past experience . You’ll also add a trigger word or short phrase that will help you recall each story.

It may not make sense to anyone but you, but if you take just the headings and trigger words for each, your list could might look like this:

excellent customer service: bunions

resolve problems: goldfish

organization: pick up sticks

confidentiality: Zumba class

flexibility: ice storm

Now anytime you try to learn something new, there’s a good chance it seems odd and requires some effort to master. This method I’m sharing with you is no different, but it is highly successful – and so are the people who use it.

The key now is not to memorize the great answers you have but to recall the trigger words you’ve attached to each core or key responsibility the employer is looking for. I think you’d agree that the interviewer is probably going to ask you questions about the things that are important to the job you are interviewing for rather than questions unrelated to the job you are applying to. So in this way, you and I can predict with great certainty the questions we’ll be asked.

By having a trigger word ready, it becomes easier for your brain to take the trigger word and access the right story from your memories and bring it foremost in your mind when you need it most. This way, you blank out less and perform better.

All the best!


“I’m Willing To Do Anything.” NO YOU’RE NOT!

“I’m willing to do anything.” Whenever I hear someone say this, I immediately know that the person is going about their job search in a way that is likely to take much longer as they search for work that pays well, is meaningful and which they enjoy. So I have no reservation about replying, “No you’re not.”

When someone says, “I’m willing to do anything” there are numerous jobs and careers that I could suggest which the person would find boring, hate, beneath them, scare them and outright refuse to do. In addition to these jobs, there are those jobs that the person is entirely unqualified to even compete for. It’s only a sign of their ignorance and stubbornness if they still insist on saying they’re willing to take on some job with training that they aren’t currently qualified to do. For example I might say, “Are you qualified to be a Forensic Scientist working in the field of Archeology?” and if they reply, “If they train me, sure”, then I know the person isn’t in touch with their present reality. If they haven’t got any education beyond grade 12 at the moment, no one is going to even look at them to do this kind of work. In short, they aren’t qualified to do everything so they can’t do ‘anything’ even if they are willing.

So the question I always ask of people who claim they are willing to do anything is, “What kind of work do you want to do that you are qualified to do?” This question almost always results in the person sharing what they’ve done in the past and they then tell me they which jobs they no longer want to do or are able to do, and the jobs they’ve liked or want to pursue.

I’m guessing you’ve had the experience yourself where you ask someone a question to which you get some ambiguous reply; the result being you have to ask a second or third question to get them to reply with an answer that gets to the question you originally asked. It’s like when you speak with a child and ask them why they did or didn’t do something and they say, “Because.” That’s never a satisfactory answer and so you realize you’re sucked in to asking the obvious next question, “Because why?” As the adult, you have to probe to get at the motivation or lack of motivation behind the child’s actions or inaction. The same is true when you ask someone what kind of work they are looking for and they reply, “Anything”.

As an Employment Counsellor, I get this reply quite regularly from those I come into contact with. My instincts tell me as they utter the word, “Anything”, that a conversation is in order before I can realistically help them. Some typical questions include:

  • What jobs have you done in the past?
  • Have you got any physical or mental health issues that limit what you can do?
  • What have you enjoyed in your past work?
  • What education or qualifications do you have?

There are several other questions to ask, but if you’re someone who is looking for work and don’t really know what you’re after, you might consider answering those 4 questions yourself.

Of course there’s the issue of preparation in order to make the most of your job search. We both know that job searching can quickly become a frustrating experience and as humans, we don’t tend to voluntarily engage in things we find frustrating for very long and we don’t throw ourselves into such activities with much enthusiasm. Enthusiasm however, is exactly what you need to have if you want your job search to result in success.

Yes, you could just get lucky and land some job you find soul-sucking and mindless, but wouldn’t you rather find work that you actually enjoy doing; work that pays a decent if not good or great wage? Would you like your next job to be one you stay at for some time so you’re not back looking for work in the near future? Well maybe yes and maybe no depending on what you like or don’t.

My suggestion to you is to seriously look at what kind of work you want. You may have to upgrade your education with a course or two or possibly a few years to get a degree. If you really want that job bad enough in the future, get going on that education now. You might need to revise your entire resume, and if you lack the ability to target your resume to the jobs you want, get some help down at the local employment centre in the city or town you live in. These activities and others like them aren’t a waste of time but rather an investment in your own future.

When you know what you’re after and you communicate that clearly to anyone who asks, you stand a much better chance of the person being able to assist you solely because you obviously have some direction. Saying, “I’m willing to do anything” reveals your key weakness which is you haven’t figured out what you really want to do. The person you’re speaking with isn’t likely to point you in the right direction because you don’t know where you’re going so how would they?

I’ve yet to meet the person who is really willing to do anything.