Lindsay Olson is a partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing (and PRNewser guest columnist). She specializes in helping companies and agencies find public relations and communications professionals throughout the United States. She has over ten years experience recruiting in the PR industry and also writes a career-related blog at LindsayOlson.com. You can find her on Twitter via @prjobs.
Her latest column seeks to answer the eternal question, “How do I know if this is the right job for me?”
Most people will ask themselves this question at some point during a job search. In the current state of the economy, professionals feel they aren’t able to be as picky as they were in previous years. The pressing need for a paycheck deposit undoubtedly outweighs or hides any negative aspects of the job. But accepting your next position is a serious decision and it’s important to consider several factors before rushing to the alter. After all, this is the place and the people with whom you will be spending a majority of your waking hours.
I spend a lot of time talking to people about why they have made job changes or what changes in their current position would make them happier. The top three reasons I hear are…
Management issues, no room to grow, and geographical constraints/relocation.
A company is always changing and sometimes those changes are unforeseen. Regardless, these are the issues you should evaluate before making a decision and the best way to do that is through asking good questions throughout the interview process.
Evaluate the company culture
The company culture and work environment need to match your style. The environment and the organization values affect your well-being in the workplace every day, so make sure you feel comfortable. If possible, try to interview and visit with the company during the busy work hours rather than early in the morning or very end of day to get a better sense of the environment while everyone is hard at work. Make sure before you accept a job you have the opportunity to see the office arrangements and layout.
Interview the boss
Consider asking your future boss several questions about his or her work style and employee relationships. Find out how long the people in the department have been with the company, including the boss. If a majority of them are newbies, it could be a sign of high turnover and discontent.
Ask what the potential boss enjoys most about his or her job and what they would change about working at the company.
Ask about his or her management style and philosophy.
Ask about how your work and success will be evaluated. Get an idea of the goals and expectations for the first six months to year on the job.
Find out about the successes of the manager’s former employees. If he or she can’t come up with an example, it’s a warning sign.
Assess your opportunities for future growth
Nobody wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. While it is true some situation may require you to take a slight step back to move forward, a position that doesn’t allow room for advancement surely means a short-term career move. A resume that shows little or very slow career progression raises red flags over time.
Questions to ask:
Where did the boss start in the organization? What about your future teammates? Does the company have a formal review cycle â€“ is it annual or quarterly? Ask the HR department about the percentage of employees in the firm promoted in the past twelve months. If the company boasts about their internal promotion rate, find out why they are hiring for the outside for this position.
In order to honestly evaluate this information, be sure you know what is important to you. Know yourself. It’s important to carefully consider these issues prior to taking a new position and to make an informed decision. The most regrettable job decisions can be easily avoided by asking probing questions and due diligence. If it’s not obvious what you should do based on your evaluation, listen to your intuition. If something feels off, it probably is.