Few things will give you a sense of greater pride (and momentary euphoria) than receiving a job offer from a hiring company. Not only does it make you feel valued and “wanted”, but in a shaky economy like the one we continue to experience, it provides welcome relief to anyone that has had to cope with being unemployed. While there are times that we (as grown-ups) must take a job we know we don’t love, in order to pay the bills, there are other times when it makes sense to do your homework and ensure that the company will be a good fit. Too often we have heard stories of recent graduates taking the first job that was offered to them, only to be disappointed and frustrated with the job after a few months. According to a recent Bullhorn report 46% of new hires leave within 18 months!
The problem is that when interviewing, applicants have little interaction with a company beyond the HR department and perhaps 1-2 meetings with the person who will serve as your “boss”. This tells you nothing about your colleagues or work environment. To really understand the job you may be accepting, you have to dig deeper, ask questions and look at the following:
1. Company’s Reputation & Leadership – Before you even walk in the door, you should have done your homework on the company and have a firm understanding of their business, overall market, products, leadership and financials. On paper they should be a company that you would be proud to represent, and be poised for continued growth & innovation. And don’t forget to check out the Executive Team. They are vital to the company’s long-term prospects, and you want to make sure you have smart, savvy people at the helm of each department, especially your own.
2. Company Culture: Too often prospective applicants get wade-down considering their potential salary & benefits, when what they should be focused on is the company’s overall environment and culture. It’s very easy to use the visual cues around you to get a sense of how the office behaves, starting with the reception you receive at the front desk. What is his/her tone? Are you made to feel welcome? Look around the office…is it formal or casual? Do people work in a bullpen environment or individuals offices? What’s the dress? Is there a pool table and slide in the middle of the room? What’s the male to female ratio..young to old? Work is done in many different ways, and it’s important for you to know in which kind you will thrive.
3. Work Expectations - Before accepting any jobs it’s vital to understand your own role in the company and that you can meet the expectations that they have for you. This not only includes any set goals or deliverables, but other job requirements such as “standard” office hours”, out-of-town travel, working from home & weekends, TPS reports, and managing others…all of which can impact your work experience.
4. Salary & Benefits: Of course salary & benefits are key to accepting (and staying at) any job. We want a great place to work, but need to be paid what we are worth and what will pay the bills. Increasingly companies are going beyond salary and health benefits to include other perks to attract and retain talent, such as child care, free food, even chair massages, but really comes down to what benefit you derive.
With all the social networking going around, it’s easier than ever to do your homework. Find friends through LinkedIn that are connected to any company you are considering, as well as Glassdoor which will give you an “inside” look at various jobs & companies, including your connections through Facebook. Go get the job that’s right for you.