By Alan Henry
If your job sucks, and there's nothing you can do about it, you may be tempted to look for another one. Be careful: remember job interviews are sales pitches as well as candidate evaluations, and all that glitters may not be gold. Here are some ways to cut through the pitch and find out if you're walking into a situation that may be as crappy as your last one.
We've mentioned before that job interviews are an opportunity for a potential employer to learn more about you, but also for you to learn about the company. The trouble is that they're also a sales pitch: you pitch yourself and your skills to the company, and the company pitches itself to you in the best possible light. It's not uncommon to interview for a job, think everything is great, and work there for a few weeks only to find out you're expected to travel more than you thought, or the hours are much longer than advertised, or your boss is nothing like he or she was in the interview.
You don't have to be fooled though; a couple of pointed questions during the interview will help cut through the fog. Over at On Careers, they suggest a few interview questions you may want to ask (if the position you're applying for warrants them):
- What is the turnover rate for this position?
- Do you have any statistics regarding employee engagement? (Some companies do surveys.)
- Can I see the full, official job description?
- Who will I be working with most and can I meet them?
- Can you tell me about the company culture?
- Can you tell me about the dynamics of the team I'll be working with?
Some of these may be a bit more direct than you want to be, and some hiring managers may not have the data on hand that you're looking for, but it's safe to ask about things like turnover, to see the full job description, and even what the person who was doing the job you're applying for is doing now (eg, whether they quit or got promoted.)
Similarly, asking about the company culture and how well the team you work with likes each other and gets along with one another are great ways to determine whether you'll be working with a tight-knit team that actually enjoys one another's company or an adversarial set of colleagues who can barely stand one another. Also, research the company a bit on the web and see if you can find testimonials from old employees on sites like Glassdoor. That information can go a long way to help you make a smart decision if you're offered a job.