Interviewing for jobs is a lot like a first date — everyone’s typically on their best behavior and out to impress the other party. But much like that first date, telltale signs can quickly emerge during the job interview that this particular employer may not be the right one for you. These five tips from Audigy’s human resources experts offer guidance on deciding whether to give a potential employer a second look or move on to a better match.
It’s a given that many long-distance relationships fizzle. At the interviewing stage, many people don’t consider the reality of the time it takes to travel to and from work. The company and job might rock, but if you’re on the road over an hour each way, it’ll get old fast. Most interviews aren’t scheduled at rush hour, adding to a potentially false sense of the commute time. Tip: Take a trip to the company in the heart of rush hour and honestly evaluate whether you’d be up for it twice a day during the workweek for the next few years.
Like someone who seems to have a lot of first dates, the company could have a high turnover rate. If everyone you ask at the company is fairly new, that should set off red flags. What’s going on that the company can’t retain talent? What is the reputation with employees? Online employer-review sites such as Glassdoor can help you find out. Tip: Explore the review sites, but take them with a grain of salt. Sometimes folks with the biggest ax to grind post the most. Look for trends within the various employee reviews, which can help provide a sense of a given workplace.
3. First Impression
The adage “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” rings as true for a company as it does for a date. How’s the atmosphere when you walk in the front door? Do you receive a warm and welcoming greeting from the front-office area? Do employees milling about seem to smile and act happy to see each other, or are their heads and eyes cast down? Don’t dismiss what your gut’s telling you. You can learn a lot just observing the atmosphere while awaiting your appointment. Best bet: Engage with the receptionist to get a feel for the workplace, taking note of how friendly they are, whether they make eye contact, or whether they take other steps to ensure your comfort.
Personal compatibility matters as much with your work environment as it does in finding a life partner. What does the office look like? Is it an open environment with a lot of collaboration, or do closed doors abound? Are you someone who needs quiet and your own space, or do you thrive working in a bustling open area? Do the workstations have a lot of personal touches, or does the environment seem sterile? A clamp on showing personality in a workspace can say a lot about the leadership’s openness and inclusivity. You spend more time at work than home and thus should be able to personalize your work space — within reason and with respect to others around you. Tip: Know and own your environment preferences, and keep in mind that an unforgiving sterile environment can denote rigid leadership.
5. The Interview Process
Communication, communication, communication! Is the potential employer being responsive, or — gah! — “ghosting” you? No employer will ever love you more than at the point they’re trying to hire you. If you’re getting negative signals during the interview process, don’t expect improvement once you have the job. If they leave you waiting for weeks between each contact, or keep having you come back to meet this or that manager and then cut bait, you’re better off without them. If people return your calls and email messages, treat you kindly, and seem to value your time and talents, then … winning! If, however, they treat you like you should feel privileged to even be in the running, then you should be the one running away. Tip: Ask the person scheduling the interviews to give you a sense of the timeline on the whole process, clarifying what you can expect at each stage.
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