An Informed Decision

You apply. You interview. You get an offer. Congratulations! Take some time to pat yourself on the back because in today’s competitive world, it’s not easy to land a job. Then what? Some people just know they want the job. Some of us don’t, which led me to this post.

I was offered a job in the city I wanted to move back to after a stint away. However, something about the office and people rubbed me the wrong way. I am happy I declined and waited it out because I ended up getting a job four months later which I felt great about thanks to an interview process where I met eight people in the company with whom I’d be working. That’s abnormal; most of the time we meet one or maybe two people at an interview. So how do you evaluate not only the offer but the company culture and your future colleagues?

Ask questions. Ask for contact information. Ask more questions. This is something I didn’t do before accepting a job years later and I wish I had. Ever since, I have done my homework after getting a job offer and created a list of pros and cons. I go about this in three ways. First, through Internet research on sites like www.vault.com. Second, through primary research. I think about my contacts and who may know someone in the organization I applied to or someone who used to work there. I look through my alumni network databases. I contact folks connected to the company and ask them questions that get at what is important to me in a job (e.g., culture, hours, independence). Third, I ask the company’s HR representative or person with whom I met in the interview more questions that I did not get to ask in the interview to ensure I have a clear picture of the actual day to day responsibilities. I also ask them if there are others with whom I will be working and if I can contact them. So far this method has not failed me and the jobs have turned out to be very close to what I expected.

How do you determine whether a position and/or company is right for you?