Wed, 8 Jan, 2020
When you go in for your interview, the more conventional approach is to just try and give good enough answers to the interviewer— as if you were taking an exam.
But today, the digital and tech markets are scarce in candidates. What this implies: your interview isn’t just about selling yourself as the best fit— it’s also very much about you deciding whether the company and role are right for you.
In a way, you could say that, at the same time the company is interviewing you, you’re interviewing them right back. So how do you make sure you want to work there? How do you make the most out of your interview?
There are a few areas you should focus on, namely the challenges of the job itself, but also the company culture and the environment.
Some of the more pioneering companies make sure you get this information as part of their normal interview process— after all, it benefits them too. It’s no good to invest in hiring someone only for them to leave a team or culture they don’t like.
But, in case they don’t cover this, here are the key questions you should ask to figure out the organisational culture and get some peace of mind.
1. Visit the office.
The question ‘Can I see the place where I’ll be working?’ shouldn’t freak out your potential employer. If they refuse without good reason (like office-wide repairs), that’s a big red flag.
According to an international LinkedIn survey, visiting the office is the top way candidates want to know their prospective company. And for good reason, too: there’s a lot you can learn from a quick tour.
Unless you’re going to be telecommuting all the time, atmosphere matters. For example, would you rather be in a relaxing, quiet space without constant coworker interaction? Or do you prefer to be in contact with your team at all times? The first person would hate an open plan office— the second one would love it.
Besides the layout of the space, pay attention to cleanliness and order (obviously), how you’re received, and what do the workers look like— do they seem excited to be there? Or does their attitude belong in a medieval torture chamber?
When you’ve got all this firsthand information, it becomes a lot easier to envision yourself working there. Or not.
2. Meet your coworkers.
No matter what role you’re interviewing for, it’s always a good idea to ask, ‘Can I meet the members of my team?’. In fact, according to LinkedIn, 46% of candidates want to learn about a company through other employees.
Why is this method so popular and reliable? Easy— it can give you a fairly well-rounded view of the company culture as well as what to expect in your training and career progression.
The best course of action is to meet employees at different levels and sectors of the business. But most important, of course, are the folks on the team you’ll be on and those on the same level as you.
First, they’re less likely to oversell the position. And crucially, meeting them will tell you just what it’ll be like to work there daily. Don’t ignore your gut feelings— do you want to work with someone you don’t like at all?
3. Adjust your feedback expectations.
Asking ‘Thank you for this opportunity, when can I expect feedback on this interview?’ might not tell you as much about the company as the previous questions. On the other hand, it will help you calm down after you leave the interviewer’s office.
It’s normal to be nervous when asking for feedback— no one wants to sound pushy. But you shouldn’t worry about that: this simple question clears the air and conveys your assertiveness.
Also, you won’t be fretting for the week to come. If the interviewer tells you they’ll get back to you in four days, you can set a reminder and try and put it out of your mind until then. Isn’t less stress better?
The bottom line.
This interview is the perfect time to assert your professional value and figure out whether the company and position offered are the best for you and your career. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that matter— visit the workplace, meet the team, predict when you’ll get feedback. Knowing the culture and prioritising your peace of mind are the best way to make a solid decision.
If you don’t know where your career is taking you next or you want to find a cool new role, reach out today! We’re always happy to help you grow into your true potential.
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