At an interview, do you jump through hoops to prove your worth to the interviewer? This is exactly what I did during the early days of my career. We aren’t wrong for wanting to put our best foot forward, but taking it to the extreme to make them like us leaves out an important part of the interview equation—how YOU feel about THEM! This interview is a crucial opportunity for you to make observations and assess the job. .
The Big Picture
In the long run, nobody wins when we end up in a job or with a company that isn’t the right match. We aren’t happy, successful, or productive. This directly affects the employee and the employer.
When you arrive
There are many things you can do right away to assess the job. For example, how were you greeted upon arrival and what was the experience like? If possible, see how coworkers interact. Is it positive? Or do they not interact at all? Maybe there aren’t any coworkers at all and you would be working alone. Is the office so quiet you could hear a pin drop?
Your prospective supervisor
While you do your best to impress him/her, be sure you’re auditioning them, too. Once again, make sure you assess the job! Does the vibe or connection feel right? Do you feel like you’re being talked down to or interrupted? How would you feel if every work day began with a morning meeting across the desk from this person? Would you feel motivated and excited to get your day started, or would you instead feel heavy and dread starting your day?
While it’s not always easy to know 100% whether or not you can work with someone based on a 30-minute conversation, it’s usually quite possible to see if there are immediate red flags or warning signs.
Meeting the team
Ideally, your interview process will offer you the chance to meet the team (assuming there is one, of course). If that chance arises, apply the same filter to these individuals that you used for your supervisor interview. Sometimes these meetings are done as a group, which would be a great chance for you to see how the team interacts together.
Many examples here focus on potentially negative interaction during an interview; those red flags are the easiest to spot. But sometimes, situations aren’t necessarily about a supervisor or a team being unpleasant. Here is where it becomes more difficult to assess the job. The rest of this task relies upon you the candidate being honest with yourself about your goals, preferences, and limitations you have when it comes to certain environments/personalities. Truthfully, we all have these. It doesn’t make us wrong, but it does mean that some teams, supervisors, or organizations simply aren’t right for us. Using that self-awareness will help you to align yourself with the best opportunities for you.
Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist