Everyone has jitters when they go for a job interview, whether it’s the first interview or several into the process. It’s really hard to tell much about the culture of a company in the first interview, especially since their #1 job is to sell the company to you as a great place to work.
Luckily, you—the applicant—are in control and have chosen the company that you’re interviewing with; so do a little extra research. If there are major glaring issues present immediately, run for the hills! Here are 5 great ways or places to take the pulse of day to day life at the company:
- Visit the bathroom the employees (and you) would use if you took the job. This will tell you about the environment around you and the type people who you’ll work with. If the bathroom is disgusting, out of paper products, or non-functional, this is a bad sign.
- Check out the place where everyone eats lunch or takes a break. Notice I didn’t specifically say visit the break room because some people might not ever make it in there for lunch because they only have time to eat a snack at their desk as they keep plugging away. If you are looking for a hard grinding investment firm where the only time people stop working the phones is to swill coffee, then that might not a problem. However, if you’re looking for something more relaxed, you might move on.
- Learn about why the position is open. Did the previous person quit, and if so, why? Or better yet, is it a new role that was recently created?
- If the person who interviewed you is not who you would directly report to, ask to speak with them as well. Many people state that they do not leave a job, they leave a boss. If the person that you’d work directly for is the reason the position is open, then consider that as well!
- Speak with as many people who are in your prospective role—or have been in that role—that you can. Ask about the upward mobility of the position. This will be a good indicator of what your future at the company would be like.
There are always going to be bad days, but not all days will be bad. Learning about how the culture of the company really is and more about the role you’re considering can help you make the decision between 2 similar job offers. And the people that you’d work with can make the job miserable or truly exceptional. These are some gutsy moves, but make the effort, and you’ll most likely end up making better decisions and land a role at a company where you’ll be satisfied enough to stay for a while.
More info along these lines: Ten Unmistakable Signs of a Bad Workplace
About the Author: Michael McCoy is the Community Engagement Specialist for Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN). He has served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for 6 years; currently holding the rank of First Lieutenant and Executive Officer of Bravo Troop 1/278th ACR. At OSDTN Michael works with community groups, companies and individuals to provide opportunities to serve Veterans. Michael’s other leadership experience includes time working in small businesses and professional development, and serving on the board for the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce.
What other gutsy things should someone research when interviewing? Comment in the “Start the Discussion” blank below.
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