Have you ever regretted accepting a job offer?
Ever wished you had asked more questions to understand the “terms of the deal” before saying “yes”? Or learned more about the supervisor you’d be working for or how your future employer might handle things?
If so, you learned the hard way you need to identify the traps that lay in an otherwise appealing offer before heading to heading to the job alter. Here are easy strategies you can use to reference check your future employer and supervisor and key questions to ask during your interview or before accepting a job offer.
Reference checking your future employer and supervisor
Google provides you multiple opportunities for learning about a potential employer. If you set up a Google Alert for the company’s name, you’ll receive news about company events and even complaints concerning the employer. Indeed.com allows you to see a company’s overall rating and view links to its current job openings. The company’s presence on social channels can give you a feel for the company’s personnel and culture.
Other social media sites enable you to locate shared connections with your supervisor. You can search your supervisor’s first- and second-degree connections on LinkedIn. If you know any of the supervisor’s current or former direct reports, you can ask, “what’s this supervisor like?” or “how is your employer handling the pandemic?” Imagine how it will help you to learn whether the supervisor’s a great coach or a micromanager.
Combing through the employer’s website enables you to both learn about the employer and to draft an on-target cover letter and resume. You can learn how many years the company has been in business, the key clients they interact with and the wording they use to describe their mission and challenges. When you then use the same words that your future employer—for example do they describe “customer relations” as “client relations”, when answering their questions, you demonstrate you already talk their language.
If you’re interviewed and considered a finalist, you can even ask if you can spend a day shadowing the person you might replace.
Questions you want to ask
Learn what it will take for you to attain job success
Key question that help you learn what you’ll need to do in the eyes of your prospective employer include:
- What will you want me to accomplish in my first thirty to sixty days?
- What will tell you one to three months from now that you’ve hired the right employee?
- How will you assess my performance?
- Once I’m oriented, what accountabilities and decision-making responsibility will I have?
As a secondary benefit, asking these questions tells the job interviewer you care about meeting employer expectations.
What is the supervisor like?
Before you land a job with an employer who expects daily briefings, which you consider micromanagement, or a hands-off manager unavailable when you need guidance, ask:
- How often will you and I be communicating and what type of communication do you prefer – email, in person, by phone, or via texting?
Will this employer have reasonable expectations?
Will this job ask more of you than you’re prepared to give? Here’s how you’ll know whether you’ll be working a standard work week or days, nights and weekends – ask questions such as:
- How reachable will you want me to be on weekends or evenings?
- What’s a normal workday and work week here?
- How much business travel will I do?
- How much overtime will there be?
The next time an interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” ask some or all of the above nine questions. If you don’t like the answers, breathe a sigh of relief because you’ve dodged a bullet.
Your future employer and you make a two-way decision when you accept a job offer. You’ll be investing your energy and skills into your job. Make sure you’ve made the right investment, so you don’t have to figure out how to escape a wrong new job.
© 2020, Lynne Curry
Lynne Curry is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016, https://amzn.to/30V5JO6) and “Solutions”, https://amzn.to/2GYlnAN (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to her at email@example.com, visit her @ www.communicationworks.net or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.