Last summer, a friend of mine who recently graduated from university was elated to have finally found a job directly related to his skill set and career ambitions. Five months later, the company downsized because of its inability to generate sufficient revenue and he was laid off. The small business, it seems, really wanted an experienced individual who could present bold, proven plans that would save the company from going under. They could only afford, however, a junior level new hire with little experience and some experimental ideas. Because they were unclear about the condition of the company and the enormity of the task they needed accomplished, he was ill equipped to produce the results they wanted and ultimately lost his job.
In your job search, it is just as important to find a position that fits your skills and fulfils your needs as it is to find a job at all. Many job seekers feel pressured to jump at the first offer they get because options seem so few. But don’t buy into the myth. Take your time, do your research, and choose carefully. As much as your potential employer is investing in you as an employee, you are investing in them as a sustainable source for wages.
Rule #1 in interviewing (it goes without saying) is to do your research on your potential employer and the role you hope to play within the company before the interview—doing so makes you seem more prepared, knowledgeable and attractive as a candidate. But when researching, it is equally important to look for information that will help you know what to expect as an employee. As much as you’d like to impress the interviewer, it has to be the right fit for you too.
Just as there are certain things you try to minimize when presenting yourself to a potential employer, so too do companies try to hide their unattractive traits from their candidates. Consider the viability of the company or the department you’re aiming for. Are they hiring you as a team member to sustain/ advance the company or are you their last hope before bankruptcy? Are budgets tight or will there be sufficient resources for you to complete your tasks effectively? Also look at employee morale. Are there high turnover rates? Are employees satisfied with their hours and task load or do they feel overworked? Will there be room for growth? Has the company offered raises, bonuses or displayed other employee appreciation in recent years? Do they all just get along?
In an effort to fill the position, employers will sometimes leave out this key information. But figuring it out before you accept a job offer will ensure that at least you are aware of the situation you are walking in to.
While you can always tactfully ask during your interview, networking (of course!) is one of the best ways to garner this information. Make full use of Linkedin and other discussion boards and forums to either ask questions or to simply read about other people’s experiences with the company. Scour current and former employee profiles to see how long they were with the company, what experience they had before their tenure, and possibly what type of position they moved on to afterwards. Ask your recruiter for their advice. Any employment agency worth its weight should be able and willing to give you this type of information. If not, they should at least direct you to someone who can.
by Abena, Wall Street Services Reporter