by Anne Libby, Anne Libby Management Consulting LLC
When you’re looking for a job, the goal is more than just finding a job. The goal is to find the right job, in a company that’s compatible with you and your work style. In Part 1, we covered ways to identify organizations with cultures that are a good fit for you.
Once you’ve identified companies you like, here’s how to take closer look.
Turn the process upside down, and interview companies to see if you want to work for them. Informally, talk with people in your network who are company employees or alumni. And do ask questions in job interviews!
1. Know yourself. If a company’s workday starts at 7am, and you’re not a morning person – it’s probably not a good fit. If the office demeanor is very formal, and you’re a big practical joker – keep looking.
2. Know what you want. Do you thrive in a deadline-driven environment? How do you feel about travel? Do you want to socialize with your co-workers frequently?
3. Develop open-ended questions. These are questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Craft questions in advance, based on what you’re looking for.
- “Where is the last person who held this job?” can tell you if a company’s growing, if they promote from within, or if people are leaving to work at competitors.
- “What’s the last training course you took?” will offer insight about the value a company places on training and development.
- “What’s it like to work here?” will speak volumes.
Then, listen. Open-ended questions are most effective when you’re prepared to quietly let the other person talk.
Ask the same questions of several people, and compare the answers. Do they match? If not, why not? Maybe one person was displeased with the role because it wasn’t the right fit for their interests and needs. Maybe another didn’t get promoted.
By speaking with multiple people – informally and during interviews — you’ll develop a picture of what the culture is like, and why certain people have had different experiences.
How Are You Treated?
The recruiting process is a window into a company’s culture. Once you’ve started to talk with a company more formally, you should see people on their best behavior. So watch, listen and learn. Are people responsive? Polite? Pleasant to be around? Do they start and end meetings or calls on time?
If you’re comfortable with how you’re treated, great! If not, consider whether things will truly improve once you’ve started the job.
Listen to your gut! Compare what you’re seeing with what you learned from others in your research process. Be prepared and willing to say “No,” when an opportunity doesn’t feel like a fit.
When you find a corporate culture that’s a good fit for you, your career journey will feel a lot smoother.
It might feel like it takes a lot of time, effort and heart to find this fit. It does. It’s an investment in your future: make it. You’re worth it!