So you’ve got your resume noticed, confidently answered the top ten interview questions and your dream company is offering you a job offer. Your heart leaps with joy and you can’t wait to sign the contract in a week’s time. At the back of your mind though, there’s this persistent question lingering. You can’t help but ask yourself, wait, is this the right job for me?
It’s normal to have such doubts, especially when you know that half or even more than half of your life will change once you accept a new job. Your decision will affect the way you spend eight hours or more at work for at least five days a week. It’s no kidding matter. For one thing, you must question some of the most fundamental aspects of work and see if they will eventually meet your needs and wants.
1. Company Culture – Values, Attitudes And Goals
What kind of culture does your new organization embraces? Do they value competitiveness, or do they inculcate creativity? Are they people-oriented or result-oriented? What is their vision and mission statement? These are the things you should find out.
Most importantly, the company culture must be aligned with your personality, values and beliefs. Imagine having to do the work which you disagree with day-in and day-out. Even if you don’t get burnout, you’ll become indifferent to what your work stands for. At the end of the day, you might even end up simply working for a paycheck, without having any sense of belonging to the organization and the people in there.
They say that if you can’t win them, join them. I think it’s not applicable in this context. More likely than not, if you’re at odds with the rest of the organization about the way they handle the business or treat people, chances are that you will never agree with them. Your personality, values and beliefs are more or less part of who you are, so it’s best to find places that are in-line with yourself.
2. People – Boss & Colleagues
When the going gets tough, you need all the social support there is out there. Especially when it comes to working, a supportive network of colleagues and an understanding boss would definitely make things easier.
Of course, it’s hard to tell the personality and character from the interview alone, so this is where you have to go with your guts. Just as your first impression matters during the job interview, the impression which your boss left on you matters as well. He or she will prepare sufficiently enough to convince you to join the organization, so that is where you can tell what kind of person your future boss appears to be.
Colleagues-wise, it would help to find out from the interviewer whether they are of the same age as you. There will be more common topics of interest during your daily conversations with them if the age differences are not that drastic. This is something you should take into account as you ponder about whether you could click with them ultimately.
3. Workload & Expectations
During the interview, you will most likely be briefed about your job scope and what you are expected to perform. That’s the explicit portion, where everything is spelled out clearly to you perhaps in the form of a job tasks list. Go through it, raise questions to the interviewer, before you ask yourself if you’re comfortable with the workload.
What job interviewees neglect is the implicit expectations of your new job. We all know that sometimes we’re not simply employed to fulfill the basic job functions; we get additional tasks (or get ‘arrowed’, as of how Singaporeans would put it) from time to time. What you need to find out is, how much of these sidelines will you be dealing with?
Somehow or rather, I think this has a lot to do with company’s culture, in that it correlates with how much they expect employees to perform ‘beyond the call of duty’. It might even have something to do with office politics and such because there’s a possibility that people push their work around.
Furthermore, it might even hamper your career advancement. If everyone’s expected to do more than is required, then what do you have to do to get noticed? On the other hand, if you’re not counted on to assume additional work, you will be able to stand out if you do make that extra effort.
4. Career Progression Vs. Stability
As with the preceding point, if your priority lies in climbing the ladder, you need to find out what it takes to get promoted. Generally speaking, the more competitive the culture, the more you need to do to progress. This would have an impact on your work-life balance and even your physical and mental health. You’ve got to see if such stringent conditions for advancement are really worthwhile.
Depending on needs and wants, some people might prefer stability over prospects. For that, it might be helpful to find out what’s the attrition or turnover rate of your future department. Of course, the interviewer may not be entirely honest in an attempt to recruit you to the team, so it’s advisable for you to do some research yourself. Ask around and gather intel from word-of-mouth.
Progression or stability, it really depends on you. What matters most is that you make an informed choice based on what the organization has to offer to you. How frequently do employees of a similar position as yours get promoted, and how often do they leave the job? You might even consider the big picture and ask if the industry is stable or prospective by itself.
5. Remuneration & Benefits
Why do we work? How many of us can say that we love what we do? It’s apparent that most of us work first to sustain ourselves before we can even think of passion. The fundamental need for survival prevails over anything else. And thus, the issue of salary and benefits.
Sure, you can always survive with a lower pay. But the question is, are your fairly compensated? Comparing your position across the market would help you answer that question. Remember also to take into consideration the company perks as well, such as insurance, sick leave, training programmes, etc. Other things to consider include how quick your next increment will be. It wouldn’t benefit you much in the long-run if your starting pay is pretty high but will remain stagnant for a while.