I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of clients, both on the coaching and recruitment sides of the business, who have successfully secured interviews recently, which is brilliant.
Two of the questions I’m asked most frequently are, what should I ask at interview stage and what is the general etiquette? One of the biggest points I always hammer home with any client is that the interview process is a two way conversation, and it’s about you understanding the culture of the business and if you fit with their values and the long term vision of where the business is heading. It's a long term commitment potentially!
I watched the new Thomson holiday advert last night with Simon the Ogre which is very clever about a normal family man ground down in a job he clearly hates, but if he had asked the right questions at interview stage then maybe there would be no need for the ogre in the first place! But what the advert does hit on perfectly, is how much being in a job you hate effects not only you but your family and friends, and how making the wrong employment decision can change you.
Understanding the culture of the business is huge. My pet hate in businesses is the politics of an organisation, where the staff and managers within the organisation are more concerned with chasing their own agendas or covering their own backsides, rather than working together in partnership to further the business objectives. I’ve worked for big corporate businesses who operate in this way and it’s frustrating, especially as I always like to be honest and up front with colleagues and never really got the politics!
Stability is also a factor. I once joined an organisation that was saddled with debt and had a three restructures within a year and was in freefall, which in hindsight was not the best career move! However, I met some great people who turned out to be good contacts when setting up my own business later down the line, and learnt a lot within a short space of time so it was not a complete loss.
Career progression should also be considered. It's difficult if you’re not currently happy in your role - or have been unemployed for a while - not to think in the short term. Without structured career progression, within a short space of time you could be back on the job market again with another business on your CV/resume due to frustration - or as one client put it this week “pure boredom”
I would urge you if you are at interview stage soon, do your research, research and then more research. With social media including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook plus all the company information which is available, there should be no excuses. It’s always useful as well to look at the hiring manager's LinkedIn profile to see how long he/she has been in the current business, and how many moves he/she has made. Sometimes the landscape can change if you are recruited by one hiring manager who then moves on to be replaced by someone with a completely different agenda.
This is a big deal for you if you are currently in the interview process. It’s an exciting time to be looking for a new job with so many new opportunities on the horizon, but make sure you get in right. If you need help then email me on [email protected] and I’ll be happy to offer free advice or call on 07772945870. I’m always happy to talk!
I’ve listed some example questions that may be helpful below but this is by no means exhaustive. Thanks for reading and good luck if you are currently in the interview process.
How would you describe the culture within the organisation?
What are the current challenges within the business?
What’s the long term goals of the business?
What are the career opportunities within the organisation and what opportunities are there to develop?
Can you describe how you like to work and what your style of management is?
What excites you about this business?
How long have you been within the business?
What are the challenges within the role?
What is the structure of the team and the larger organisation?
How would you describe your current team and what are they like to work with on a day to day basis?
For more insights, follow Mark Rainsbury on Twitter on @rainsburyrec
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