Question: "I'm a recent college grad. What Should I ask ask and what should I know before I accept a job offer? Leslie C.
Great question. Too many people are just thrilled to have been offered a position and jump to say “Yes!”. It’s important to remember that this is a two-sided deal - YOU have to pick THEM too.
Most of the people who fail in jobs, don’t fail because they don’t have the skills. They fail because they failed to assess the culture of the company and the environment in which they’d be working.
So how do you make these assessments?
Try these tricks:
- If possible, don’t just interview with your boss – see if you can get an interview with your boss’s boss. That’s the person who will really be calling the shots.
- Try to spend time with the people you’ll be working with. See if you can get an interview with “the team”. Many places will go for it. You can even pitch it as a way to give the team an opportunity to ask you questions. Some managers won’t like this because they don’t want their staffs to think they have the final say, but it’s worth a shot.
- Pay attention to the work environment when you go in for an interview. At 8 am, is the office full of people who have clearly been there for some time? How about 8pm?
Get to your work area. It’s not unusual for HR or a company to limit interviews to a recruiting area, or the big boss’s office – who actually doesn’t even sit on the same floor as the people you’ll work with. Once they’ve made the offer, ask for a tour of the office.
- Check with your alma mater's career center - are there alumnae/i who work there already? Your college or niversity can sometimes provide you with some good intel.
- Don’t forget to network with your friends and classmates! There are only so many jobs out there, and only so many qualified candidates. It’s quite possible you know some of them already. See what other people have to say about their interviews at that particular company.
- Check teh web. There are some sites out there that have employee forums, where you can read employees’ comments about their employers. Just take each with a grain of salt. No news is probably good news, and it’s usually only the disgruntled who write in.
These days you can afford one mistake and have one short-time job. But do whatever you can to make sure each decision is sound. You can never know for sure, but you can mitigate the problem with some unconventional research.
Until next time,