Before deciding whether a new position is right for you, determine your workplace preferences. An effective hiring manager will quickly sell a company position to the chosen candidate who may be lured by an attractive salary or a plush office. If you hated the long commute and the strict office hours of your last job, chances are that a higher salary and a comfortable chair are not going to be good substitutes for what really matters to you – a shorter commute and a flexible schedule.
Anne Fisher, a business journalist who focuses on career and workplace matters, recommends carrying out some detective work before meeting with a company representative. Develop a perspective of the company culture before you are tempted to compromise on your needs. Web sites such as Vault.com or Glassdoor provide insights into companies. Alternatively, search for employees on LinkedIn who are willing to offer you some information. Here are some tips for your investigative effort.
- Pose intelligent but targeted questions based on what is most important to you to an existing employee. Asking a general question such as “How is the organizational culture?” is less likely to answer whatever burning questions you really have. Ask a question such as “Does the company support flexible hours?” and you will receive a clearer response.
- For questions that are sensitive, reorient your approach. For example, you should probably avoid asking what hours staff are expected to work, but instead you might want toyou’re your contact to describe a typical work day or work week. Sara McCord of The Muse suggests inquiring as to the busiest times of year. The response to this question will give you an indication of the company culture. If it is always the busy season, that tells you a lot.
- McCord also suggests asking about staff meeting frequency. The level of communication within an organization is key to the culture. If the response is vague, expect a less than transparent organization. A response that reflects the importance of keeping everybody informed is a positive sign.
- Meghan Biro of Glassdoor offers a list of items that you might want to consider when examining the culture of an organization. It can help you identify the cultural factors that are important to you. Once identified, find creative questions that you can ask in an interview, or to current employees, that will provide you with the information you need.
Another great source for more ideas on how to determine what is most important to you and to build a profile of your ideal work environment is MyAtlantaCareer.com.