Don’t Say Yes Until You Know Your Potential Employer Has These
When looking for a new job, it’s easy to want to jump at just about any offer that comes your way, especially if it’s within an industry or a role you’ve been really aiming at. However, you need to get a grip and hold those horses. The position and industry might be right, but the role and company may be very wrong. Before you say yes, clarify a few things first.
The right place for you
If you’re not currently employed, then this has an obvious answer. For other people, however, it bears thinking about even if you think you hate your position. First, it’s about the career shift it entails and whether the change moves you in the right direction on your career path. If it’s a lateral move, you have to think about where it can lead to that’s different from your current position. But it’s also about timing. Given the rate of experience and skills learned, for instance, could sticking with the old position for another year put you in a much better position for getting another job than you would be in now?
A full understanding of the role
You need to read the job description and the details of the roles and responsibilities carefully. However, it’s important to realise that they won’t always contain all the details you consider pertinent. For instance, you might take a job without any knowledge of who you’re reporting to, who’s supporting you or even if you’re going to be part of a team or working alone. A good look at the day-to-day of the role is important.
The room for growth
Career minded people aren’t just looking for jobs. They’re looking for a future. That means you have to always be seeking upward mobility in every position you take. Note, this doesn’t mean that you should start asking about when your promotion is due during the interview. Rather, ask about training courses they help to offer or where they expect you to be in a few years from now. If they offer training courses and development plans, it shows that they put thought into the benefits they offer and the needs of employees, too.
The ability to deal with the unplanned
The fact that they can deal with those needs is essential to be truly comfortable when working within a business. Especially because those needs aren’t always easily anticipated. Illness, maternity and paternity, grief. They all change a life and the job has to be able to accommodate those changes. Don’t ask about what happens if you need sick time. Instead, ask about policy. The anatomy of a solid sickness absence policy shows that an employer is prepared for the unexpected twists of their employee’s lives. That means you can expect they won’t be adding more pressure when you’re already dealing with a trying time.
The values of the business
You should ask about company culture. Not just because it shows that you’re thinking beyond yourself. It’s also a good way to see if you’re as much of a fit for the team as you would like to be. You want to try and identify worrying signs of a toxic workplace culture before you accept a job. For that reason, it’s a good idea to get a look at the workplace in full swing and see how employees interact with one another. If you go the whole way through the process having only met the interviewer, you can’t get a real grasp as to the values of the business.
The ability to retain employees
This can be a sticky topic to broach. You don’t want to poke the wasp’s nest and insinuate that the company is doing something wrong. But you do want to find out if there are genuinely any problems as far as working in the business is concerned. To that end, consider the different reasons someone might quit and look at employee reviews online to see if any of those issues make for a recurring theme.
The working hours and off-work function
You’re likely going to have your work schedule lined out for you pretty clearly, but it always pays to ask about more detail. For instance, finding out how well a company can deal with flexible working hours shows an organization that values not only that different employees have different needs but that individuals can work better in a different way than their counterparts. Similarly, you want to know the acceptable way of getting in touch outside of work when it comes to solving problems or alerting to changes. Otherwise, you can the uncomfortable experience of having to try to figure it out on the fly.
The expectations of travel
If you know where you’re going to be working, then you should already have an idea of how you’re going to commute there. But some employers expect their team to be able to travel with them based on different events and circumstances as well. Get those expectations put out in the clear as soon as possible. If a lot of travel is expected, then make sure you find out about compensation for that travel as well.
The expectations for you
If you really want an idea of what kind of work you’re going to be doing months down the line, then ask about it. But phrase it a little better than that. Ask if they can set goals and what they would like to see you accomplish within, for example, 90 days. If they can’t name any detailed goals and recite from the responsibilities on the job description then you know that your role isn’t fully incorporated within the goals of the company. You want an employer who has expectations for you.
Some of these questions can be asked in the interview, some after the job offer, and some need to be researched a little more discretely. However, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before you take a new job.