When you’re eager to land an offer, transition to a new organization, or move up the corporate ladder, you’re most likely laser-focused on the end result of change. But before you begin mentally decorating your new office, take a moment to consider whether the position (and organization) are the best fit for you. A smart approach to evaluating any offer is to answer a few hard questions; some of which you may choose to ask during the course of interviews.
Why is the position open? One of the best ways to determine if you’ll have a positive long-lasting relationship with an employer is to inquire why the job is currently available. Did the last person leave at will, were they promoted or was it the result of a negative situation? The answer may lie within the goals and objectives tied to the position. Are they realistic, and what would your specific responsibilities be to ensure these goals are met? This naturally leads to an inquiry about the pace of the position, hours on the clock or more appropriately, “What is a typical day like?” All of these questions are targeted toward gathering details above and beyond the job description. When obtained, consider the information thoughtfully. If the position is beyond your scope of capabilities perhaps it could work against you. On the other hand, if you’re ready to take on new challenges, this may the perfect opportunity to launch your career.
Are there opportunities for growth? When evaluating an offer this answer could be critical, but directly asking this question can be a deal breaker. Still, there are many ways to gather this information without appearing to look past the current position and onto the next. Rule number one in interviewing is do your homework, so start by talking to current and past employees. If you don’t know any associates within the organization, ask for introductions, use social media or follow company conversations to jump on the inside track. People love to share their stories, so through listening you can glean much about an organization including levels of employee engagement, growth and the retention and turnover rate. A few specific questions you may want to ask at the end of the interview include “How are employees able to stay current on changes and trends in their field?” “Do your employees routinely take advantage of employer-sponsored continuing education programs and conferences?” And if you’ve built good report with the company representative, “What is your personal plan for professional growth, development and success?”
What is the company culture? Information on vision, mission and financials can be gleaned online and should be researched well in advance of the interview. But details regarding the company culture and team dynamics come during the interviewing process. By observing how employees interact, their energy level and even the office environment you will assimilate valuable information to weigh against your own values and preferences. Note your own interaction with employees. Were you warmly received? Did the greetings and interactions seem authentic and forthcoming? Not only does body language provide great insight on what you can expect regarding the company climate, but so do the surroundings. Inquiring about artwork, interior design or office layout and structure can be great icebreakers and a socially acceptable way to open the door for conversations around preferences, work styles and culture.
Image Credit: Hans Splinter
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