In my job search escapades over the last month or so (I know, it hasn’t even been that long), I’ve gained what feels like lifetimes of experience and knowledge. First off, I’ve got my elevator pitch nailed to a tee. I know what it is I am really looking for, and have even had the opportunity to pass on a few opportunities because I knew my heart wasn’t in it. So far, the potential employers I’ve spoken to seem to genuinely appreciate my honesty. Cultural fit is everything.
As far as remixing a typical interview style, I’ve found it helpful to turn the tables early on in the conversation and really explicate what it is you’re looking for. What matters most to you, and what will truly make you happy at a job? Think about what means most to you, what will you look forward to getting up for everyday?
Here are some of the questions I ask to guide my early screening conversations:
- How long have people generally worked here? Do employees tend to stick around for awhile?
- Do employees spend time together outside of work? Are there company-organized activities for fostering community and encouraging teamwork?
- Are there opportunities for people to weave in their personal interests into the job?
- What incentives are in place to inspire employees?
- How does the company leadership support an engaged company culture?
- Describe the employee and management review process.
- How collaborative is the work environment? With what frequency do teams meet internally or cross-departmentally to communicate priorities, ideas and changes?
Maybe you have different questions specific to what is most important to you. For me, cultural fit and knowing I will get along with the people I work with all day is my top priority. I want to work somewhere I’m comfortable being my authentic self, where I can share time and creativity with similarly inspired, creative, smart people who want more than just a job to show up to. I want to grow and learn from people that are really invested in creating the future. Everyone deserves to feel aligned in their career and passions, but it’s up to you to be your best advocate.