If you’re anything like me (and the people I talk to), you probably spent your last interview focused on whether the company liked you enough to give you an offer. Did you stop to consider whether you liked them enough to accept it?
A lot of people I know hate their jobs. And I don’t mean hate in a casual sense, but more of that “loathe entirely” kind of feeling. Could they have avoided this pain? Was there something they missed in the interview process?
Here are some ways to make sure that your next role is a good fit, for both parties.
1. Do your research
At the start of the interview process, you should be researching the company you’re applying to, because it makes you a better candidate. You should also use this research to your advantage, to see how you feel about the company.
Look at the company’s “About Us” and “Career” pages.
How do they position themselves and who do they highlight? What is their size, geographic scope, and history? Look beyond the buzzwords.
Read their marketing materials and watch videos of their leaders.
Does the language and tone they use match the work environment you’re looking for?
Check out reviews by their employees (Glassdoor) and look at their product’s online reviews.
What do others say about the company and their products? Would you be excited to tell your friends about where you work?
2. Ask the right questions
A lot of candidates have a pre-planned list for when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us?” While this feels like more of the interview (do my questions make me sound smart?), you should also use this time to learn more about your potential employer.
Craft your questions based on your priorities.
Are you focused on finding a company you can grow in?
Try: “What does growth within this department look like, and can you provide an example of a successful transition you’ve seen during your time here?” ← Getting (and listening for) examples is critical. Actions speak louder than words!
Are you looking for a fun & laid back culture?
Try: “When was your last team event, and what did you all do together?”
Do you worry about lack of structure?
Try: “I’m interested to learn how work is structured. What is the last project the team worked on, and how was success measured?”
3. Speak to someone directly
Not only can this get your resume noticed, it can also give you a chance to learn what it’s actually like to work there. Reach out on LinkedIn to people currently in your role, or a similar role, and ask for a quick call to learn more about their background and experience at the company.
Don’t make it generic.
Look for people who have some connection to you, either through mutual connections or a shared school/work experience. If you can’t find that, make some reference to their own career journey to show you didn’t copy & paste the same message to all their peers.
Keep it professional.
Double check what you send and keep it short.
Respect their time.
Come with a list of questions and send a thoughtful thank you note.
4. Pay attention to the interview process
How a company interviews you says a lot about how they function. Think about who you meet with, what roles they play at the organization, what questions you get asked, and the office vibe. Don’t listen to the hiring pitch alone (companies want you to want them), but pay attention to the entire experience.
I once had a candidate drop out of our interview process because we had to move the conference room they were interviewed in mid-way through. (In our defense, we were a startup with limited space.) While it’s hard to see a qualified candidate leave, it was likely for the best. Our work environment required flexibility. If this candidate didn’t like the movement in the interview process, they likely wouldn’t have enjoyed the switch-ups that would be thrown at them on the job.
Getting a job is hard, but so is leaving a job, even if you hate it.
Spare yourself future pain by making sure you are accepting the right job, not just any job. That way, you can love it and not loathe it!