Interviewing for a new job is about more than impressing the socks off your interviewer(s) with your professional success and flawless CV. When you interview for a job, it also an opportunity for you to assess whether the company, the people and even the actual job are all right for you. This is a place you will be dedicating a huge amount of time to, so making sure you’ll be happy there is crucial. Sometimes, no matter how perfect the job is, the company simply isn’t the right fit for you. Here are some warning signs to be aware of.
It’s a word that gets bandied about a lot but it actually holds a lot of power when it come to getting along in the workplace. It’s important to find out what the company culture is like at the interview stage, and it’s actually a great question to ask when prompted. Company culture is responsible for so much of the workplace happiness of the entire staff so it is a perfectly valid enquiry to make. You might be able to pick up on some of the aspects of the company culture simply by being in the offices, especially if you’re there for a series of interviews. If not, simply ask questions of your interviewer and see what their take on it is. You will at least be able to judge whether it is something that the company takes pride in cultivating, or whether it is a back-burner subject. If your interviewer can’t provide much information about it, it would indicate that it’s not important to the company, which may be something you need to consider if offered the job.
You might find your new job exciting and interesting now, but you have to consider your future with the company. Is it a company that nurtures talent and keeps you moving, career-wise? Is there going to be scope for further training, study, or promotion? It is vital to find out how far you will be able to go in your prospective new company, so if you ask the question and receive blank stares or reluctant answers, you need to ask yourself if you will be happy in the long term with this company. A word of warning though – be subtle about enquiring as you don’t want it to seem as though you are looking to move on from the job you’ll have there straight away.
One effective way to judge what a company is like is to simply look around at the people that work there. It’s pushing your luck to swan about and talk to employees while you’re waiting for your interview, but you can certainly have a look around. Is it a bustling hive of activity with smiling faces, enthusiastic conversations or it is quiet and filled with miserable-looking people? Whatever your preference for office activity, you’ll be able to tell something from a subtle scan of the place.
Now we are not suggesting that you come out with the brazen question ‘What perks will I get if I work here?’ but keep an ear out for those mentioned during the interview. You can ask about certain aspects that are normal for your professional level – car allowance, holiday allowance, etc., but other, non-standard perks, you’ll have to keep an ear out for. Perks don’t make a job and they certainly shouldn’t be make or break criteria for working for a company but they do count. The ‘extras’ that an organisation provides for its employees says a lot about the type of company it is and the value they see in their staff.
Your happiness in a company rests on a range of aspects – some within your control and some not. Use the interview stages as much as you can to glean whether the organisation you may commit a large chunk of your professional life to is going to be well-worth it.