Have you ever started a new job and then quickly realised the culture was nothing like what the company touted itself as in the job description? Suddenly, you’re put in a tight spot. Should you stay and stick it out? Or start your job search all over again?
You’re not alone. According to a Glassdoor survey, 61% of respondents said the reality of their new job didn’t align with what they’d expected based on their interview.
Without doing your own background research on a company before you sign the dotted line, you’re risking your everyday job satisfaction, well-being and potentially, your mental health too.
Here are our top tips for finding out if a new job opportunity is the right one for you.
How to work out if a job opportunity is right for you
Make sure you know what you’re looking for
Before you start looking, you need to know what you’re hoping to find. As recruiters, we want to be able to help you find exactly the role you’re looking for but you’d be surprised by how many candidates we speak to who can’t articulate what their ideal workplace looks like.
You may be thinking “you’ll just know” if a workplace will be the right fit. But you can’t really know until you’ve actually started your new role - and by then, if it’s the wrong fit, you’ll be feeling the sting of regret.
We suggest thinking about what your favourite roles have been and why. It likely has a lot to do with the workplace culture. From there, write down what you liked about your favourite roles.
When you’re researching companies during your interview process, refer back to your list of “likes”. This will help guide you towards finding the right company for you.
Check job review sites
Your first stop for information should be job review sites where former and current employees leave anonymous reviews of companies they’ve worked for.
There are plenty of options, so take your pick, but a few websites we’d like to suggest are Glassdoor, Indeed and Seek. These sites can give you insight into company culture, the atmosphere, pay and if they champion their team.
Talk to a recruiter
As a recruiter it’s our job to know the needs and cultures of companies we’re advertising for, just like it’s our job to know what you’re looking for in a job opportunity and help you find it.
By engaging a reliable recruiter, they’ll be able to guide you towards opportunities that are more aligned with your values and help you steer clear of those that wouldn’t be the best fit.
Look at their social media and website
What a company shares, or doesn’t share online, can be a big indicator of what their values are as a business and whether they align with your own.
Take a scroll through the company website and read through the company values, employee profiles (if they have them) and their about page.
You should be able to get a good sense of the company. Or, at least, what their branding presents. Whether this translates to their working environment is another story.
If you want to uncover where the company stands on certain issues or controversies, try looking back through its social media and see what was posted.
Find employees on LinkedIn and see what they’re sharing
If the company has a LinkedIn presence, you should be able to see who works there. To get a sense of what your (potential) coworkers are like, we recommend seeing what they’re sharing.
Do you agree with their stances? Do you have anything in common? Could you see yourself getting to know these people? This is also another way to uncover what the company stands for, as by extension, their employees are representing them online.
Questions to ask at the end of an interview
Let’s set the scene. You’re in a job interview and it’s drawing to a close. Your interviewer smiles and says: “Do you have any questions for me?”
What do you do? If you find yourself drawing a blank, you wouldn’t be the only one. As recruiters, we’ve just about seen it all when it comes to job interviews and we want to help you nail it.
That’s why we highly recommend asking one (or more) of the following questions. Remember, an interview isn’t just for the company. It’s also for you.
How would you describe the workplace culture?
Depending on what they say, you’ll be able to compare it with the anonymous reviews you’ve read online.
Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
Possibly more important than the overall company culture is the culture of the team you’ll be working with. Dynamics change team to team, manager to manager. So while the overall company culture may sound like a good fit, you also want to learn as much as you can about how your team operates to determine if it’s a good fit for you.
What does success look like for the company?
This may sound like a trick question, but it’s fairly straightforward. Depending on what “success” looks like for the company, you can quickly ascertain the company culture and what they value most.
If it’s their bottom line, they’ll likely say something related to sales. If they’re people-focused, it should be about the well-being, happiness and growth of their employees.
Do you have an example of someone who was promoted internally and what opportunities they’ve had?
What you’re really asking is “do you support your employees to grow?” or “will I have an opportunity to grow here?”.
Career progression, or investing in employee growth, is essential for job satisfaction. You need to know whether you’ll be valued, or stuck in the same dead-end role for the next five years.
Do you need guidance finding a role that suits you? Visit our jobs board or get in touch here.