Career Advice

Ask Employers Questions That Matter
The Engineer posted on December 15, 2010 | 7122 views

Have you ever applied for your dream job, only to be hired and find out it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be? Now you’re stuck in a job that you are not happy with. How did this happen? Chances are you did not ask some very important questions during the interview.

Quite often, a job seeker preparing for an interview will spend so much time trying to prove to the interviewer that they are perfect for the job, they don’t spend enough time trying to figure out whether the job, the boss and the company are perfect for them. If you want to find a job that you love, you have to be honest with yourself by ensuring that the environment you will step into is just as fitting for you as you are for it.

Trust As in any relationship, a good employer-employee relationship is based on trust. You want to work for a company you can trust. Trust is something that cannot be earned in a few minutes or days. However, there are some good indicators that a company is trustworthy. You can get an idea of these indicators by raising questions on a number of different topics.

The best example of this would be the company’s core set of values. What are they? How do they guide day-to-day activities? How do they influence decision-making? Good answers should include examples of day-to-day actions of employees based on those values and employee recognition programs that reward employees who demonstrate the values of the company as well as excelling at their job.

Public statements of these values also go a long way in building a level of trust, as the company is telling not only the job searcher, but also the entire world. Displaying company values on hallway walls, business cards, letterhead and websites are good indications that the company is making an effort to communicate its values. Equally important to stating their values is a measurement of how well a company lives up to them. Press releases or newsletters are a good source for these sorts of announcements, so be sure to pick one up and see if the company walks the walk too.

Your Involvement & Contributions In addition to a trusting company, you want to work for one that keeps you motivated by encouraging you to participate in decision-making and engaging in conversation in goal-setting. To find out what level of involvement you can expect, you can ask about the year’s upcoming goals, if you will be involved in setting personal and team goals, and how your personal goals help to achieve company goals. Good answers will provide examples of open employee feedback on key decision how employees provide input in setting their own goals. Again, the best answers have specific examples as proof.

Investing in Me The final, and perhaps most important thing you should be looking for in a company is one that invests in you as an individual. Most companies that care about their employees have employees that care about the company. Ask questions that take into account your life outside of work, and how flexible the company is in allowing you to balance your personal life while growing your career. If you are young and are eager to learn from more experienced people, you should also ask about mentoring opportunities from the interviewer or another leader in the company.

The best answers are ones that provide you with not only concrete answers to your questions, but a little enthusiasm to boot. If the person seems genuinely enthused about the professional development programs, the ability to work from home, and numerous mentoring opportunities, then there is probably something to be excited about.

Asking the right questions will provide you with the greatest opportunity of finding a job and employer you are satisfied with. But more importantly, asking the right questions might prevent you from accepting a job that didn’t come as advertised.

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