Most people think of an interview as the process a business uses to choose the right employees – but it’s also an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate their potential employer.
There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and suddenly realising that it’s not right for you, so here are some tips on making sure that you choose the right one.
Pay attention to the office
Think about how you like to work: do you prefer to be in a social environment, with lots of people around you? Or do you find that you concentrate better in a quiet place with fewer distractions? Do you like to keep things professional, or are you eager to make friends at work? Do you prefer to dress formally for work, or do you like casual clothes?
Once you know this, you will have an idea of what kind of office will suit you. When you go for your interview, look around at what people are wearing, what the atmosphere is like (e.g. loud or quiet, fun or formal), and how many people are in the workplace. This will help you to decide how well you’ll fit in.
Ask about structure
Some people like to have different levels of management so that they can be sure there’s always someone to go to for advice and approval; others prefer to be independent and able their own decisions.
A good interview will leave time for you to ask questions, so this is a good opportunity to ask about the management structure and how many people you’ll be reporting to.
Different businesses have very different approaches to employee engagement. Some offer wellbeing programmes, discounts, and coaching; others focus on social events, recognition, and rewards. There are lots of approaches and combinations that the HR team might choose.
Do some research into how the company you’re applying for treats its employees and what you could gain in addition to professional experience. If you’re interested in networking, you might prefer to choose a business that has lots of staff activities; if you want to develop your skills, a good staff development programme might suit you better.
It might seem strange, but the people who interview you are a good source of knowledge about the company – ask them about their own experiences so far and what they think of it.
You might learn some interesting information that you wouldn’t get elsewhere, as there’s nothing like insider knowledge.