Imagine quitting your job LIVE on social media to a throng of 10,000 viewers. That’s exactly what entrepreneur and viral video maker, Nicole Walters, did 2 years ago. Now before you get too inspired and go all Jerry McGuire on Facebook Live, how about you consider what led you to where you are today.
Everyone knows that most people quit their managers. I’ve done it. My fiancé has done it. My 11-year old wanna be YouTube star has done it. [I’m the manager in that last scenario, btw].
But did you know that nearly one-third of employees quit within the first 90-days. Crazy, right? And while studies say on boarding plays a big role in those high stats, a lot of it boils down to the culture, your peers, your boss and your future opportunities..
Given there’s so much at stake when you change jobs, wouldn’t you want to save yourself the hassle by knowing which opportunities you should take and which you should run from as though Pennywise the Clown was on your tail?
Here are several important considerations along with some sample interview questions to ask interviewers, so you can feel more confident about your career
Company culture is a big deal. Research, Glassdoor and “Best Company To Work For” lists make sure we know that. But outside of review sites, how do you assess a company culture to make sure it’s right for you? How do you know what to look for? Honestly, there’s no one way to measure because it all boils down to your values aligning with the company’s.
Let’s put it this way:
If you’re a big city kind of person, you may not be happy living in a town of 5,000 people where every trip to the grocery store feels like a family or school reunion. There are traits of a big city that resonate with you, but are likely missing in a smaller town. Maybe it’s access to a multitude of micro-breweries or maybe you like the mayor’s fiscal policies. Whatever it is, the city has something you value. Same goes if you prefer the quaintness and charm of a close-knit town.
You have to take the same approach when considering a new company. Some parts of the culture can only be determined by asking questions:
- Which departments does the CEO value the most? How well does that team get along with yours?
- Describe how the senior executive team interacts with one another.
- If the company could be on any “Best of” list, which would it be and why?
Some traits of the company culture can be assessed by simply looking. Think back to your interview and answer these questions:
- Do most executives sit with their team or are they secluded in offices?
- Are there reserved parking spaces for executives? *This usually means the company values hierarchy.
- Are there common areas for employees to relax or connect? If so, do you notice the areas being used?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into an office and seen ping-pong tables or other “fun” stuff, but they’re gathering dust. Yes, maybe it’s crunch time and everyone is busy OR maybe the company does not truly value downtime. This can be good or bad depending on your personality and values.
Who’s On Your Team
Chances are, you work in an organization where collaboration is vital to the success of the company. If you’re in a leadership role, your team is more than just people who report to you; it includes your peers, especially those who interact with you and your team most often. It’s imperative that you meet with (at least) some of the people who will consistently collaborate with you and your team.
- What do you think I should focus on to improve my team?
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with one of your peers. How did you resolve the disagreement?
- Tell me about the most difficult colleague you’ve had to work with.
- Tell me about your collaboration style
Be careful of peers who speak ill of former employees. It is rarely, if ever, a good sign. If your interviews are done, ask the recruiter which departments you will interact with on a daily or weekly basis and see if you can schedule a 30-minute call with your counterpart on that team.
Who’s The Boss
The person you report to has the biggest influence on your success (or failure). You can deal with backstabbing co-workers, you can even deal with a lackluster company culture, but it’s hard to deal with a difficult boss. The relationship you have with your boss is important and has a huge impact on your happiness and success at work.
That’s why it’s very important to be analytical about the interactions you had with your would-be-manager. Make sure you interview her/him to figure out whether or not her/his management style meshes with your work style. Here are some interview questions to ask your potential boss and teammates
- Tell me about the best employee you ever hired.
- How do you decide between hiring from the outside to promoting from within?
- Who was the last person you promoted? What did they accomplish to get the promotion? How long were they in their previous role?
- What are the biggest misconceptions your team has about you?
- What leadership/management trait do you struggle with?
These are just a few of the many interview questions you can hurl at your future manager. The best way to structure your questions is to write down the things that you value the most about work. Is it training? A path for promotions? Work-life balance? Your boss holds the keys to many of these values, so make sure you ask questions that give you a hint if you’re in sync or not. A no shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it should help set your expectations.
What Opportunities Will You Have
There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve made the wrong decision about a job. Sometimes its within days or weeks of starting. Sometimes it doesn’t come until you’re ready to move up the corporate ladder only to be pushed down by corporate politics, convoluted red tape or a lack of open positions. Unless you have a crystal ball to know whether or not your new company will have the right openings at the exact moment you’re interested in moving up, you should ask questions to understand the process and likelihood of you getting promoted at work.
Word to the wise: Don’t act overly ambitious or ready to move on before you’ve taken the role. Try asking the recruiter or HR any of these questions:
- When was the last time someone was promoted from this role? What role did they take?
- What’s the average tenure for this position?
- What does the succession plan for this department look like?
- Can you tell me why the last person who held this position is leaving?
- What types of special projects have people in this role (or similar) participated in over the past year?
Of course, not everyone has their ambitions set on the C-suite. Whether you’re heading up a special project, division or you make a lateral move, you should understand the types of opportunities that will be available to you in the future.
Remember, an interview is a 2-way street. How interviewers respond to your questions can be a tell-tale sign of what’s to come. No matter what, you have to ask yourself if you are comfortable with the answers or potential scenarios you will face if you accept the job.
They don’t call it work for nothing, so realize not everything will be perfect.
The important thing is to make sure you go into each new company with eyes wide open by taking the time to understand yourself (and the company) enough to know what’s negotiable and what is not.